Barry Hecker has spent decades in and around the NBA as an assistant coach and player personnel director with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies. Speaking out on Tuesday, he said he warned the Trail Blazers about the act of general manager Neil Olshey years ago.
Listen to the full interview here.
“First, I don’t think he was right for the job,” Hecker said. “Second, he has no idea how to treat people. He is an arrogant SOB. His ego gets in the way and he’s just a bad person.”
Hecker worked with Olshey while with the Clippers under the ownership of then owner Donald Sterling. Hecker said that when he learned that the Blazers were hiring Olshey in June 2012, he warned then-President Larry Miller.
“The funny thing about the NBA is that nobody wants to tell the truth,” Hecker said. “They’re all covering each other up… I called (Miller) and said, ‘You guys are barking at the wrong tree and hiring this man. This man is not qualified, but sells himself as he is and it will be a problem before it is over.”
The Blazers and owner Jody Allen have launched an investigation into Olshey. In a statement over the weekend, the NBA franchise said it was reviewing “work environment concerns by non-player personnel in the practice facility.” O’Melveny and Meyers has been hired to conduct the investigation, according to the release.
Hecker’s comments came just 24 hours after former Trail Blazers security guard Dan Dickau went public with a story about the NBA team’s work culture. Dickau said Olshey reprimanded him over the phone for sending an email to another executive asking for a job on the business side of the operation.
“I don’t know how many F-bombs fell during that call,” Dickau said Monday. “I’m a big boy. I have done professional sports. I’ve been in locker rooms and played several games. But that it just came out of the blue for asking a simple question?”
Hecker said he listened to the Dickau interview and “the way he treated Dickau is a disgrace.” Hecker said he couldn’t sit still any longer.
Hecker said a culture of fear and intimidation infects a franchise.
“Nobody wants to be there after a while,” Hecker said. “… you have to trust people and let them do their job. He’s a micro manager, that’s for sure… fear only works temporarily… the only ones that really stick around are the ones who might not get another job or are so worried they won’t get another job or in the NBA so bad that they stay through it.”
Olshey began his NBA career in Los Angeles as the Clippers’ workout guy. Hecker shared that while Olshey was working in that capacity, he tried to persuade Shaun Livingston to switch agents, “which is completely unethical.”
Listen to the full interview with Barry Hecker here: