Read this. Kevin Arnovitz put together a very detailed, incredibly fascinating look at how Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey got to where he is today. From his acting days to his rapid advancement through basketball, this piece provides the incredible details of how Olshey made a career for himself despite not having the traditional pedigree. I’ll excerpt the intro here, but do yourself a favor and read the whole article over at ESPN.com:
July 2, 2010 was a bright Friday in Cleveland. Early that afternoon, Los Angeles Clippers vice president of operations Neil Olshey and team president Andy Roeser arrived at the headquarters of LRMR, the marketing firm owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
The Clippers, set to pitch themselves as the best match for James’ talents, were being ridiculed like an eccentric presidential candidate on a quixotic campaign. They didn’t seriously think an athlete as brand-conscious as James would suit up for them, did they?
Olshey had heard the snickers from around the league and the web. Privately, he was well aware that, next to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat, the Clippers were the paupers at the garden party. Basketball luminary Sonny Vaccaro had helped Olshey broker the meeting as a favor, and Olshey’s expectations that James would be his starting small forward in 2010-11 were modest.
“We were on an audition and everyone else was on a callback,” Olshey said. “The other teams that were in there were already further down the road with [James] than we were. We were trying to play comeback ball.”
The Clippers took a minimalist approach with their presentation. Olshey couldn’t brandish any championship rings, and he wasn’t flanked by a hip-hop icon. There were no PowerPoints diagraming how becoming a Clipper would make James a billionaire, or rosy testimonials about the franchise’s storied history.
While five other teams had their sights set on landing James, Olshey was engaged in a far broader mission, one that mirrored his improbable journey to that office tower on the banks of Lake Erie.
To read the rest of K.A.’s great feature on Olshey and how the Clippers came to be, click here.