TrailBlazers general manager Kevin Pritchard has been in the news a lot recently, as he’s been going around threatening other NBA GMs with legal action if they pick up former Blazer Darius Miles, which could make it impossible for Portland to pick up a free agent this summer.
In a way more interesting story, Pritchard is dating former Blazers dancer Marlene Kanehailua, who once dated Kevin Duckworth, the former Blazers center who died last August. Except Pritchard’s wife’s name is Shea, and they have two kids together. (It’s unclear when Pritchard and his wife broke up. This photo from October 2008 incorrectly identifies Blazers assistant Joe Prunty as Pritchard, and thus shouldn’t be trusted as a source.)
Whatever the case, there have been some high-level fraternization and break-ups in the TrailBlazers’ family/organization. Here’s what the Internet says:
Excerpt from diary, Sports Illustrated, 2000: Involvement with players: “We may get to do some charities or promotions with them, but our relationship is purely professional. This is a rule that the dancers have, but the players don’t.”
Portland Tribune, 2002: Much of the furniture in the three-bedroom, split-level home that Duckworth shares with girlfriend Marlene Kanehailua — a member of the Blazer Dancers — is the result of his woodcraft… Will he and Marlene tie the knot? “One day, yep,” he says. “But relationships are something you have to work at. It ain’t easy. I’m a loner. I like to keep things to myself. I don’t share a lot in conversation. That is hard on relationships. It’s another challenge for me.”
Portland Tribune, 2007: After 10 seasons of working for minimum wage and in minimal attire before millions of fans, Blazer Dancer Marlene Kanehailua, one of the most senior dancers in the National Basketball Association, is hanging up her really short shorts… Only two players in the 37-year history of the franchise — Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey — spent more seasons on the court. And few were as well-liked... Now in her 10th year as a health and physical education teacher, [...] Kanehailua has a master’s degree and is pursuing a Ph.D.
The Oregonian, yesterday: Portland beat Golden State 113-100 on Saturday. Afterward, Pritchard left the Rose Garden arena with his girlfriend, Marlene, a teacher and former Blazers dancer.
To recap: Dancer says work with players is “purely professional,” dancer begins dating former player, dancer retires, player dies, ex-dancer begins dating GM, who at some point during all this was married with two children. Ooohhh! Or maybe they started dating BEFORE Duckworth died… and he died from a BROKEN HEART!!! Dun-dun-DUNNNNN!!!
Eh, well, I tried to make it exciting. Not exactly ripped from the script of a soap opera, but certainly better than the drama about whether or not someone else will sign Darius Miles.