It’s the NBA’s biggest battle — only off the court.
Nike founder Phil Knight has made a $2 billion bid to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers from owner Jody Allen, who has been embroiled in allegations of sexual harassment and bad behavior.
But Allen, 63, who’s reportedly price greater than $20 billion, issued a defiant statement Tuesday, saying that she won’t sell the team her brother, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen left her after his 2018 death.
Former Trail Blazers president Larry Miller told The Post Jody is making a mistake: “I’d say [to her], absolutely take the offer.”
Sources told The Post, there may be growing disarray behind the scenes. A highly placed team staffer alleged that Jody’s “toxic behavior” — dating back to allegations of harassing bodyguards and violating US import laws — has spilled over into the management of the team.
In December 2021, Neil Olshey, President of Basketball Operations, was fired from the Trail Blazers for violating the team’s code of conduct after an investigation revealed a decade of workplace toxicity and sexual harassment.
Nike founder Phil Knight has made a $2 billion bid to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers from owner Jody Allen.NBAE via Getty Images
“Intimidation and profanity-laced tirades” were cited within the investigation amongst Olshey’s methods of management.
“I heard a variety of stories about how badly people felt Neil treated them,” Miller told The Post. “It got to a boiling point and it’s something that Jody and Bert must have been well aware of and done something about it.”
In November, Blazers CEO/President Chris McGowan — who also served as CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, the corporate founded by the Allens — quit after nine years, allegedly due to frustration with Jody and Kolde.
“The Trail Blazers should not as successful as they might have been. Jody is deferring every thing to Bert, and he will not be the appropriate guy for the team,” Miller said.
Former owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died of cancer in 2018, leaving the team to his sister Jody Allen.Getty Images
Kolde was Paul Allen’s college roommate and friend. “He all the time had these issues that didn’t make sense. Paul would seek the advice of [Kolde], but [Paul] would make the choices,” Miller added. “Jody’s letting Bert make all the choices now.
In response to Miller, Jody even refused to take Knight’s call when the Nike founder, who has an estimated fortune of $54.5 billion, put his initial offer together: “She didn’t take Phil’s call. She deferred him to Bert.”
She has also refused to seek advice from Blazers star player Damian Lillard, who reportedly has had issues with the way in which the team is being run, the team source claimed.
Jody Allen is steadfastly refusing to sell the Portland Trail Blazers in the intervening time.Getty Images
“Damian wanted to sit down down and have a conversation with Jody in regards to the team and he or she didn’t return his call. Then he tried to email her. Eventually she just never responded and put him in contact with Bert,” the source alleged. “Once you own a team, there are critical key decisions to make and you need to be the one involved in making the choices.”
Reps for Jody Allen in addition to the Portland Trail Blazers didn’t reply to requests for comment.
Paul Allen left his estate — including the Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks — to his sister following his death from cancer, at age 65, in October 2018.
Miller, who spent five years with the Trail Blazers, said that Jody has develop into more involved since her brother’s passing, adding: “When Paul was alive, she hardly got here to a game. Now she involves all of the games, she’s visible.”
For years, Jody and Paul needed to face accusations of bad behavior. In 2013, the siblings settled with two of their former security chiefs who accused them of smuggling, bribery and sexual harassment.
When Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard reportedly wanted to deal with his concerns for the team, Jody Allen is claimed to have rebuffed him.Getty Images
A settlement was reached in November 2013 before the case went in front of a jury. No less than 15 former members of the Allens’ personal security detail brought civil claims against them, with 13 eventually settling out of court.
Former members of the siblings’ security detail, including veterans of elite military units, said in sworn depositions in 2012 that Jody sexually harassed bodyguards and directed them to smuggle animal bones out of Africa and Antarctica. No less than two former employees said they heard Jody had smuggled ivory out of Africa in violation of US and international law, though none admitted to truly seeing her achieve this.
Deposed under oath, Jody and a number of other former security officers invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when asked about smuggling ivory out of Africa and penguin skulls out of Antarctica.
US Department of Agriculture records appeared to substantiate at the very least a chunk of the previous bodyguards’ story.
Jody Allen is claimed to be more visible at games since her brother’s death.Getty Images
In August 2011, inspectors destroyed 72 kilos of giraffe bones belonging to Vulcan, in accordance with a USDA report. The safety officers contended that Jody had the bones smuggled out of Botswana in an operation that saw a guide questioned by police and bribes paid.
While under oath, Jody also declined to address allegations that she purchased tight, European-cut swim trunks for the lads guarding her and requested they perform a “fashion show.”
Attorneys for the Allens described the allegations as “meritless” while suggesting the previous employees were attempting to extort money from the Allens.
Former Trail Blazers president Larry Miller told The Post Jody is making a mistake and will absolutely sell the team to Knight (left).NBAE via Getty Images
“The allegations that Jody Allen sexually harassed any of her employees are unfaithful,” Dave Stewart, general counsel for the Allen’s Vulcan LLC, said on the time, “Neither Paul Allen nor Jody Allen engaged in any criminality.” Stewart declined to debate the settlement on the time, as did Rebecca Roe, a Seattle attorney representing several former employees.
Miller said of the Allen family’s ownership of the team: “It’s time for a change of ownership. Stable, solid good ownership is what results in winning, you possibly can’t win in case you don’t have solid consistent reliable ownership. Portland has definitely not had that since Paul passed.”
“The problem is that Bert doesn’t need to sell, he’ll drag this out so long as possible.”
Although the Allen trust specified that Jody should sell the Trail Blazers, multiple reports have claimed that she is unwilling to provide the team up.
Earlier this month, a Blazers spokesperson confirmed that the Paul G. Allen Trust was “not fascinated about parting with the team,” following the bid from Knight together with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky, adding the franchise was “not on the market.”
But, Jody noted in her statement this week, “A time will come when that changes given Paul’s plan to dedicated the overwhelming majority of his wealth to philanthropy, but estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to twenty years to wind down.”