Archive for October 12th, 2011

The Indiana Pacers and FOX Sports Indiana announced Wednesday the hiring of Brooke Olzendam (OHL-zen-dam) as TV Host/Sideline Reporter for Pacers TV broadcasts.

Olzendam joins the Pacers and FOX Sports Indiana after a two-year stint with CBS College Sports Network as their prime time football sideline reporter.  She has also performed sideline and reporting duties for Comcast SportsNet Northwest, covering a broad spectrum of sports, from professional baseball to horse racing; and hosted pre and postgame shows for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Prior to her time with Comcast SportsNet Northwest, Brooke was the sideline reporter for UCLA football telecasts on FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket.  She began her career covering the University of Washington, both as host of “Huskies All-Access,” as well as doing sideline reporting for both football and basketball.  She also hosted “Runnin’ with the PAC,” a nationally televised magazine show focused on the Pacific Ten Conference.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment’s Vice President of Broadcasting Jamie Berns is thrilled to have Olzendam join the Pacers broadcasting team on FOX Sports Indiana.  “Brooke is a talented, experienced broadcaster who lights up the screen,” said Berns. “She will be a great addition to our team not only on-air, but also in the community.”

“We were familiar with Brooke’s work at FOX Sports West,” said FOX Sports Indiana General Manager and Senior Vice President Jack Donovan. “She’s been successful on both the national and regional level, as a host and live reporter. We’re excited to add Brooke to our broadcast team.”

Born in Spokane, Wash., and a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University, Olzendam also has a passion for basketball that stems from her father Dave Olzendam, a member of the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame.

The following is an excerpt from new Amazon best-selling PR book by Ronn Torossian “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.” Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, one of the 25 largest PR firms in the United States. Clients have included Jalen Rose, Allan Houston, Roy Jones Jr., Snoop Dogg, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ice Cube and others. The book is available for purchase at, here.

A Rose by Any Other Name Smells as Sweet

Jalen Rose hired us in 2004. Rose was a good basketball player, famous for his role in Michigan’s Fab Five and a former NBA all-star. He knew he had a few years left in his professional basketball career and wanted to build a stronger brand to accomplish his post-career goals of being a broadcaster and eventually a general manager or team owner. He is a soft-spoken, decent man and is smart with his money (in contrast to many of his peers who made and lost tens of millions of dollars).

Our PR efforts weren’t about getting any media for Rose—this was a guy who’s been interviewed daily for the past 20 years. Our strategy was making sure he appeared in media that people wouldn’t expect to see him in, and that the media saw him in the right light. He differentiated himself with his sense of fashion; he was very proud of his clothes, which allowed him to get media in fashion magazines, outlets where he wouldn’t usually be featured. This despite the fact that when he first hired us, he was playing outside the United States for the Toronto Raptors, regarded at the time as the worst team in the NBA.

We maximized his charitable giving via his foundation, the Jalen Rose Foundation, and promoted and hyped his social media activities, all things that allowed him to be seen not only as a basketball player but as someone who takes responsibility and cares about his community. This effort appealed to many. We highlighted his many donations, like his scholarship fund and his donation of $100,000 toward a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His charity work helped position him for the next phase of his career, namely to make him a marketable broadcaster and off-the-court personality.

We were able to secure interviews and features with Rose in major print and broadcast outlets across the country. We worked around his NBA schedule, generating feature stories and one-on-one interviews with Fox News, BET, and The Source magazine, Vibe, Penthouse, Hemispheres, Complex, Black Men, Dime, and a slew of others.

Rose is one of ESPN’s lead NBA commentators and is a fixture on the network’s programming. While many athletes speculate about what they will do when their careers are complete, Rose’s ability to successfully make the transition during his career through strategic public relations has served him well. And I really do think a lot of it had to do with positioning Rose as a person who was deeply committed to charity, doing the right thing, and helping others. We created the persona of a smart, well-rounded man, not just on the court but off it as well.

The book is available for purchase at, here.

The biggest losers of the NBA lockout may turn out to be Madison Square Garden’s shareholders.

MSG, the publicly traded company that owns the famous arena, the New York Knicks and the MSG sports network, is facing a $70 million revenue hit if the league’s entire 82-game season is a wash, according to expert estimates.

The loss of the first two weeks of the season, which would have started Nov. 2 against the Miami Heat, will put as much as a $10 million dent in MSG’s revenues, according to estimates.

And the chances of the new season tipping off anytime soon is growing dimmer with NBA Commissioner David Stern describing league negotiations as “far apart.” …

Media analyst Rich Tullo at Albert Fried & Co. forecasts that from Nov. 2 to Nov. 14 lost ticket sales — as well as sales of beer, hot dogs and other merchandise at the 19,000-seat arena — will drain as much as $7 million from MSG’s coffers.

Another $3 million in lost advertising dollars could come from MSG Networks, where ratings have averaged about 137,000 per game, according to MSG figures.

– Reported by Mark DeCambre and Claire Atkinson of the New York Post

amare stoudemire

New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire said he had received calls about playing overseas, but was not considering them. But he also said that if the lockout dragged on he “may entertain it more and more.”

He then offered a more ambitious idea.

“If you don’t go to Europe, then let’s start our own league,” he said. “That’s how I see it.” He said such a league would only happen if the lockout “goes one or two years.”

“It’s very, very, very serious,” he said. “It’s just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan and a blueprint and putting it together.

“We want to play N.B.A. basketball, but if it doesn’t happen, then what are we going to do? Sit around and not do anything. So we got to figure out ways to now play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it. So that’s the next step.”

– Reported by Jorge Castillo of the New York Times Blog

Read NBA fan reaction or share your views in this basketball forum topic.

kevin durant

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is making good on his promise to put on a charity exhibition game featuring his fellow NBA superstars. Details of the event are expected to be announced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

According to numerous sources with knowledge of the event, the game will pit two star-studded squads against each other, with one side being Durant’s team and the other being former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin’s team. Miami Heat star LeBron James is one of several players who have been confirmed for the event. New Orleans guard Chris Paul and Heat guard Dwyane Wade also are expected to show.

The game is tentatively scheduled to be played Thursday, Oct. 27, inside the Cox Convention Center, which holds just shy of 14,000 for basketball. Other potential stars that could make an appearance include L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and New York forward Carmelo Anthony, as well as Thunder guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden…

“Playing against NBA players around this time is really going to help,” Durant told The Oklahoman last month. “So it’s just a matter of me just going out there and hooping and enjoying it. I just do it for the love of the game, really.”

– Reported by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman

At a fundraiser in Orlando last night, President Barack Obama expressed frustration that the Basketball season has been delayed.

Here’s what he had to say, according to the White House pool report:

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I do.  Although I have to say that backstage I had the chance to see Dwight Howard — (applause) — and Dwight is a great friend, and I told him I’m a little heartbroken that the NBA season is getting delayed here.  (Laughter.)  So I’m hoping those guys are back on the court soon.  In the meantime, I’m here because I need all of your help.  I need your help.  (Applause.)

– Reported by Zeke Miller of Business Insider

Saturday is when college practices begin, and when NBA types would have been in attendance. With the players locked out and the first two weeks of the season canceled — and more games threatened — all routines are in turmoil.

“The next big thing we’ll miss are the college practices. That is something you always do,” said one NBA general manager who speculated there would be “some sort of season, but I have no idea [in terms of] length.”

Since the lockout took effect July 1, teams have not been allowed contact with their players “so you don’t know what they’re doing,” a different GM said, noting, “Young players will be hurt by this because they won’t have the normal break-in time. Teams with veteran guys should have an advantage when — if — we get back.”

Execs and scouts obviously still can attend college games — as long as they pay their own way.

“Not going to practices hurts,” another team executive said. “Sometimes, you can get more out of a practice than a game. From solely the basketball side, I would say we’re out of 80 percent of what we would normally be doing.”

– Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

michael beasley

They can’t get into Target Center these days, so NBA stars John Wall, Joakim Noah and DeMarcus Cousins are among those expected to play in Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley’s “All Star Classic” at Osseo High School — of all places — next week.

Beasley’s Wolves teammates Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson, Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington and former Wolf Sebastian Telfair are scheduled to play as well in the Friday night, Oct. 21  exhibition game.

So, too, are Boston’s Jeff Green, Detroit’s Greg Monroe, L.A. Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, Chicago’s Keith Bogans and Beasley’s longtime pal, former Dukie Nolan Smith.

– Reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Ben Gordon

“I think there will be more games missed,” Gordon said when reached by phone as he was driving to Chicago. “I expect it might be a year or two. I realized that when I was listening to both sides during the negotiations. I think there will be a lot of games missed and more money is going to go down the drain.

“I’m preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.” …

Gordon was in New York for previous negotiating sessions and said until the past few days, he could tell the owners weren’t serious about making a deal and were looking forward to the eventual outcome.

“It just seemed scripted, and they were going through the motions,” said Gordon, calling it a valuable learning experience. “Sitting there in front of them you could tell they weren’t focused on getting a deal. I still don’t know the purpose of those meetings.”

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

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