Toronto Raptors Brian Colangelo Is Still Riding Father Jerry's Coattails

By Shahab Khan
Jerry Colangelo Brian Colangelo David Stern
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Colangelo has been the Toronto Raptors general manager since 2006. During his tenure, the franchise has only made the playoffs twice and have yet to win a playoff series. The Toronto Maple Leafs fired their general manager Brian Burke only a week before their season started. Colangelo has been sitting pretty still holding the keys to the team as he also holds the title of president. The media conglomerate of Bell and Rogers, who purchased Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, ultimately made the decision to fire Burke must make a decision on Colangelo.

Fortunately for him, with the recent acquisition of Rudy Gay, Colangelo might have saved his position for another year. Notwithstanding the trade, there is something else that keeps Colangelo in the circles of the NBA and with a job. His father is Jerry Colangelo and has been in the game, the league and the sports world since the early 60s and it seems like he is pulling the strings keeping his son in the league.

The senior Colangelo has had his hand on many different franchises in many different leagues. In 1987, he put together a group to purchase the scandal ridden Phoenix Suns. The league needed someone to clean up the franchise. That he did and with some astute moves he also brought the wins. The team couldn’t get over the hump, but the senior Colangelo made a name for himself with the other executives, owners and especially commissioner David Stern.

All the while, he had his son by his side as he brought in the younger Colangelo at the age of 25. Slowly thereafter, he handed the general manger duties over to his son. They both ran the team until 2004 when a group led by Robert Sarver purchased the Suns. Another two seasons went by as the younger Colangelo stayed on as president and general manger.

Still, the team didn’t win anything. There were a lot of accolades but nothing tangible.

Brian Colangelo knew the writing was on the wall and orchestrated a move to the Raptors. Or should I say, Jerry Colangelo orchestrated a move. Since coming north, there have been good trades and bad trades, good drafts and bad drafts but there have been more losses than wins.

Yet Colangelo still keeps his job. And on top of that, he is somehow still respected as a good president, general manager and executive.

I’m confused as to why there is such respect given to Colangelo. I understand what his father did for basketball in Phoenix. He pulled that franchise up from a drug scandal.  He helped build a new arena and he was part of the league’s era of ultimate growth in revenue. Is this why his son still has a job? Executives have been fired for way less. The Raptors are on their third coach under Colangelo’s watch. The owners have changed, and they even had changes in their broadcasting teams.

Through the losing seasons, two things have remained constant: Jose Calderon and Colangelo. Well, one traded the other this past week.

That leaves Colangelo still with a job, and the only reason he still has a job is because of his father. He hasn’t accomplished anything in the game other than winning some executive awards. He hasn’t helped the franchise make the impact it could have in the city, the media or in the country. It must be as simple as that. His father has pull.

I am not asking for Colangelo to get fired. I am asking for justification as to why he is still at the helm of a losing franchise. Is it because they sell out most nights and profits are still coming in? The owners need to sit back and make a decision based on merits and results only. The league, Stern and the elder Colangelo need to stay out of the boardroom and the right choice has to be made.

Shahab Khan is a Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors

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