(WVUE) - You're hard pressed to find many Pelican fans in Portland or the Moda Center right now. But the one faithful supporter they can always count on is the team's owner, Gayle Benson.
"Her strength has been amazing. I'm sure Mr. B is somewhere smiling, looking down on the team. She's been around talking to the team. Her presence has been a positive influence on the guys and everybody," said Pelicans GM Dell Demps.
In fact, she's handled the team very similar to the way Tom Benson would have, with a hands-on attitude and plenty of team interaction.
"The way she's approached it, and what she's done, and still during a grieving period. She's just stepped up, because I think she understands that's what he would have expected of her, and she's been great at it really," said Pels Head Coach Alvin Gentry.
But it's not just the way that she's handled the team from an owner's perspective that's been so remarkable. Gayle Benson's dedication to the franchise, and just being in Portland through these opening two games, is a major shot in the arm for the Pelicans.
"For her to come out and support us, she could probably be doing 100 other things. But she's here supporting us, and coming to practice, and everything like that. So we're definitely appreciative of that," said Anthony Davis.
"It's tough. I told someone this before. It's tough to put it into words how much it means when we see her around with everything she's gone through, and her perseverance. When she comes in the locker room, it just lights up the locker room," said Demps.