Portland Trail Blazers executives Neil Olshey and Chris McGowan welcomed the Dalai Lama to Portland in style on Saturday, bestowing upon him a personalized jersey and team hat.
The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was in Portland to give an "Inspiration for the Global Environment" talk at the Environmental Summit (via Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge).
As the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Gyatso received a No. 14 jersey. When Olshey and McGowan walked over to hand him his new threads, the crowd roared with delight.
Upon receiving the jersey, the Dalai Lama visibly smiled. He held it up to his neck, making for a great photo opportunity. He also elected to sport the Blazers hat he received, to the satisfaction of Blazers fans everywhere.
"Thank you," he said.
Afterward, Gyatso threw the jersey over his shoulder (but kept the hat on) and thanked Olshey and McGowan for the Blazers gear once again, presenting them with a gift of their own.
The Dalai Lama gave each of them a white scarf to wear around their necks. They—like Gyatso after he received his Blazers apparel—smiled and thanked him for his generosity.
It was a rare occasion, to say the least—one that all sports fans can easily appreciate, the Portland faithful especially. It's not every day (or even year or decade) you get to see the Dalai Lama don NBA attire, after all.
Something now tells me the Blazers procured themselves a new fan—an acquisition that may prove to be the most significant of the team's offseason.