As is often the case, The Oregonian‘s Joe Freeman was first with the newest in breaking Blazer news. This time it’s to announce another resignation from Portland’s front office. Sarah Mensah has worked with the Blazers for 19 years, and reached some of the highest points for a female executive in the history of the NBA. Mensah follows Larry Miller as the most recent executive to say good-bye to the organization following last season’s collapse, sell-off, and firing of head coach Nate McMillan.
The feeling here, as it was when Miller left, is that the Blazers are doing an overhaul that reaches far beyond on the court personnel. Bringing in lottery picks is a good way to build for the short term as far as competing within a four or five year window. Turning over the management signifies that Portland is thinking of maintenance and growth over the long-term. It’s a bit of a shock to see Mensah go, but it doesn’t surprise me that if owner Paul Allen is thinking of taking his team in a new direction, the best place to start is in the front office.
My favorite memory of Sarah Mensah (who I was only introduced to once as an intern with the team) was hearing her in the press room wondering if she might be related to Pops Mensah-Bonsu. I think that was in 2008-09, but I can give you no other corroborative details because I don’t remember them.
Here’s the press release:
TRAIL BLAZERS’ CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER SARAH MENSAH
ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION AFTER 19-YEAR CAREER WITH TEAM
PORTLAND, Ore. – After a long-standing and substantial career with the Portland Trail Blazers, Sarah Mensah, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has resigned after 19 years with the organization. “Mensah’s departure is effective at the end of this month,” said Trail Blazers President and Chief Executive Officer Chris McGowan. Day-to-day management of the team’s business, revenue and brand management operations, including ticket sales and service, corporate sales and service, suite sales and service, marketing, communications, community relations, broadcasting, game operations and digital communications will move under McGowan’s leadership.
“Sarah’s vision, creativity and steadfast determination were essential components of an outstanding career with the Trail Blazers,” said McGowan. “Her impact on our organization was profound. The Portland Trail Blazers are grateful for her service and commitment to excellence for 19 years.”
“As the Trail Blazers begin a new chapter, the time is right for me to step down,” said Mensah. “There is a great new leadership team in General Manager Neil Olshey, Head Coach Terry Stotts, and President Chris McGowan. I want to thankPaul Allen for giving me the opportunity to lead and for always providing the team with the necessary tools to innovate and achieve both on and off-court success.”
“Sarah leaves an indelible mark on the Trail Blazers, the NBA and indeed professional sports,” said Trail Blazers owner Paul G. Allen. “She was a guiding force through some of the Trail Blazers’ most pivotal years in terms of growth, development and impact. Sarah will be missed by the entire Trail Blazers family, and we wish her continued success in the next chapter of her professional life.”