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Baller1
12-16-2011, 06:50 PM
Pretty amazing article.

Just about anyone with any familiarity of the NBA liked Brandon Roy, and for good reason. It's a shame his career was cut short.


It finally happened.

At some point this year I reached the age where Iím old enough that there's a legitimate language barrier between myself and teenage athletes. I was hanging in there, thanks to Twitter, Lil Wayne, The Wire and the like, able to stay somewhat versed on the latest hoops slang. This year I turned the corner, though, so Iím not exactly sure whether the proper usage is "to cook" or "cooking" when describing a player who has it going and is taking it to his defender. Either way, I'm positive that some variant of that phrase is (or was recently, these things change often) a cool thing to say among some subset of the next generation of elite basketball players.


After that convoluted introduction let me say this clearly: Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy, he of the so-called "old man" game, could ********ing cook.

He could slice you up. He could fillet your team defense. He could shove a dunk down your throat. He could put you in the blender and, by extension, he could shake, shake, shake. He could bake, roast and toast. He could burn you. He could roll and pound. He could microwave at a momentís notice. He could get red hot. When he sized up defenders with his rocking dribbles, his body looked like a mortar and pestle, grinding towards a method for breaking down his man. His repertoire had all the trimmings and plenty of careful seasoning. His game was the connoisseurís choice delivered fresh every day. He could knock you off your feet while leaving you hungry for more. He was ice cold in game-winning situations.

Brandon Roy had an all-NBA, all-around game. He had instincts, IQ, physical gifts, polish, size, strength, reflexes and all the rest. But he will be remembered, above all else, for his ability to cook your best defender, or defenders, at will. For a good three years, he was The Man, mano a mano.

In a one-on-one tournament composed of every Blazers player in franchise history, Iíd take him without a second thought. Said clearly: Roy in his prime would get the ball on an important possession before anyone else who has worn the pinwheel. Like Blazers coach Nate McMillan, I would run the 1-4 with 2009 Brandon Roy 100 times out of 100 with a fully starched shirt, buttoned as tightly as humanly possible, and I would not sweat a drop.

His knees, the weapons that ultimately betrayed him, were 360 degree swivels. His hips were made for a Broadway dancer. Ankles that functioned like brake pads. Both hands, unusually, trustworthy. The ball, often left exposed but rarely in danger, always on a string. His understanding of attacker/defender spacing and momentum too advanced for an outsider to describe. A virtuoso.


He completed turnaround jumpers spinning at angles, going both directions, like I have never seen. His body worked on more diagonals than a game up pick-up sticks. He extended the idea of a shooting pocket to the point where it seemingly ran from court level to his head. It was more like a stretched out version of a massive holster from an old Western. He could pull up into a shot from anywhere, at any time, as if his man was invisible.

Brandon Roy made the free-throw line extended cool.

In reading accounts in the aftermath of the abrupt end to his career, itís amazing how often writers have employed the first-person. I didnít even think to try to write this post without it. Roy was a phenomenon in that sense, a player and person so magnetizing and magnificent that he left those who came in contact with him thinking, "I just talked to Brandon Roy. Iím probably going to be telling my grandchildren about this."

There were many times over the past few years where I stopped to think that he was the most popular person in the state and that I hadnít a clue who was second.

Brandon Roy left those who covered him thinking they knew him. That was a product of the quality of his communication skills. He presented so genuinely and personably and humbly, when he wanted to, that he was overwhelming. Saying that Roy was the best quote on the team is like saying Earth has the most interesting human beings in our solar system. There have been a lot of Neptunes and Saturns compared to Roy.

When I listened to Blazers president Larry Miller, Acting GM Chad Buchanan and McMillan talk about meeting with Roy last Monday, I was taken aback by how positive their comments were, how eager they were to believe in the return of Royís capabilities and how badly they wanted it. I donít know how much of what those three said was what they believed and how much was what they wanted to believe. I donít know what Brandon Roy could have provided during the 2011-2012 season. I suspect that Roy would have been slightly better than last season but it would have been very difficult to watch nonetheless.

If you scoffed at last Mondayís press conference because you doubt Royís current abilities, realize this: if you were in a room listening to Brandon Roy tell you what Brandon Roy can do, you would believe him. I donít care if youíre the biggest cynic in the world or the most strident believer in a rebuilding effort or an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in meniscus damage. If Brandon Roy told you something and he meant it, you would believe it. He was hypnotic, and it only got stronger as he had to talk himself into increasingly difficult physical challenges and had to talk himself through increasingly complicated states of mind. And it was a constant, impossible struggle over the last two years to balance the things the ears heard him say with the things the eyes saw him do.

Others know Brandon Roy way, way better than I. But I have observed him during and after more than 100 games in person, at least another 100 or so practices and dozens of other events, press conferences, and the like since December 2007. Like many of you, I watched every second of professional basketball he played.

I stood two feet away from him when his eyes beamed with a level of personal pride and accomplishment I have never seen elsewhere, or felt myself; I stood two feet away from him when they glistened with tears of unimaginable sadness. I watched him hit game-winning shots and hit the deck due to injury. I listened to him explain surgeries and describe how he would evolve his game. I have likely used more than 50,000 words trying to explain how damn good he is at basketball and I have used thousands to call out his lack of defense, lament his shot selection and hope that he might shut up during a couple stretches of adversity last season. I have taken ******* for being too nice to him; I have taken ******* for being too hard on him. I have been in every possible argument and discussion that there is to be had about him.


I listened as one of his bosses told me he was completely untradeable and I listened as another told me he was totally tradeable. I listened to his boss say that he was going to start, then, ten days later, I listened to that same boss announce that Roy had been waived using an amnesty clause -- paid more than $60 million to stay home -- in an effort to achieve financial flexibility.

For years, I watched him dress in front of a sticky note on his locker that commanded him to "Stay Humble." I watched him dress in front of that note thinking that he truly hadn't lost sight of that message despite superstardom; I watched him dress in front of that note thinking that he might want to take a second look at it.

I watched him wear matching head-to-toe University of Washington outfits with his son like the proudest papa peacock. I watched him try to hide a motivational book on his hip in hopes that I wouldnít notice, then attempt to laugh it off when asked about it. I watched him cut design patterns into his hair and I saw Portland kids get the same pattern cut into their heads, sometimes, it seemed, within hours.

I watched "The Natural" switch from being a baseball reference to a basketball one here. I watched No. 7 transform from a numerical digit to a piece of the State of Oregon's history. I watched a player who will be for an entire generation of kids what Clyde Drexler was for kids my age.


I happened to ask Drexler about Roy at the height of his powers in 2009.

"I really like Brandon Roy," Drexler said, his voice punctuated with near-laughter as it often is. "I like him because he has poise, he has patience, and he has a lot of talent. He's got a legitimate position, he's a real two guard, he plays with intelligence, and he's a leader off the court. Those are characteristics that every leader must have."

But. And the tone shifted slightly.

"I don't like to compare guys [this early]," Drexler said, when asked to pit Roy against the all-time greatest Blazers. "I like to see them do it for about six or seven more years and then we can have this conversationÖ In order to be considered among the greats, you've got to have some kind of longevity."

I have watched this video so many times this week that the song will be stuck in my head until 2013.

I was a witness at Game 4.

I watched Patty Mills, Dante Cunningham and Nicolas Batum call him a mentor and their "big brother"; I watched Roy snap at Armon Johnson last season over a harmless comment.


"I been had that," Roy sneered at Johnson, then a mere rookie who dared to interject into an interview to quip that knee injuries had forced Roy to expand his all-around game. "I was a complete player since I was born."

Roy walked off in apparent disgust, the only time I can remember that happening.

I watched him throw teammates under the bus in defense of his right to control the offense; I watched him rush back from surgery and return to the court like Superman; I listened to him try to explain what a message of support from Charles Barkley meant to him; I listened to McMillan stand up for him more than one hundred times, in all manner of circumstances. I have gotten sick of covering him and I would gladly cover him for the next 15 years if it was possible.

This week, after thinking about it, I came back to the same place as all those writers that I mentioned above. I came back to asking what Roy has meant to me. That took me to a brief 2008 exchange that followed that memorable victory over the Houston Rockets, when Brian Wheeler made one of the greatest calls you will ever hear, when the United States met Brandon Roy for real. That night, as most nights that year, Royís corner locker was a magnet, but the nationally-televised gameís late start plus overtime forced many writers back to the work room to beat deadline. I felt compelled to ask an obvious question, in a suddenly empty locker room, just to see how he would respond. "Are you clutch?"


That "clutch" word is about as valued a term as you will find in the NBA. LeBron James has never held it. Kobe Bryant has it but even he still fights off the doubters. Michael Jordan definitely had it. But who else? Who else in the modern NBA can really claim it as part of his identity?

Roy, at that point, was starting to develop that reputation. It was two days before my 25th birthday. I had written for this site less than a year and only in a moonlighting capacity. I was just starting my second season; Roy was just starting his third.

"Are you clutch right now?"

Roy laughed. Not at the question, which happens all the time and isnít as awkward as you might think. It was a happy laugh, as if it was exactly the kind of question he had grown up hoping that he would be able to answer and because this was probably one of the greatest days of his life. He was less than an hour removed from his feat, his face still flush with adrenaline.

"I believe in myself," he began, before continuing to explain that he always asked McMillan for the ball late in games. And then he delivered the line that stood out to me at the time so much so that I underlined it for emphasis in the transcript.

"I am more calm in those situations," Roy said when asked if his pulse picks up when the stakes get higher. "Iím relaxed."

I remember him saying those words, despite how straightforward they read after the fact, as much as I remember the shot itself. He said them while looking straight into my eyes without equivocation and without an iota of braggadocio. This wasn't bragging; this was stating scientific fact. Here he was, a 24-year-old talking to a 24-year-old, and he sounded like a wise expert in the black arts of performing under pressure explaining his patented approach to a slack-jawed child.

I guarantee that will be my favorite exchange with an NBA player for the rest of my life. Getting home to type it up; watching his words instantly circulate the next morning; embracing the national discussion that unfolded over the next few months about where he ranked among the gameís elite. That was a rush. Hindsight tends to gloss up this type of thing but that night probably hooked me on this sportswriting thing. I started writing about basketball because of Kevin Durant. I am still writing about basketball because Dave took a chance and has limitless patience. And, it dawns now, because of Brandon Roy.

Am I writing this piece without Brandon Roy? Of course not. Am I writing any story without Brandon Roy? Possibly not. Are you reading this site without Brandon Roy? Does this site exist, in its current form, without Brandon Roy? To at least some degree, I have the opportunity to write this, right now, and you have the opportunity to read this, right here, because of Brandon Roy. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people in the Portland area owe some of their best memories to Roy; Hundreds, if not thousands, of people owe him their livelihoods. I feel like I owe him mine. And I feel like I owe it to him, in some way, to admit that publicly. Watching Miller, Buchanan and McMillan during their press conference last week, it felt like perhaps they were doing the same thing.

I can understand why the end of the Brandon Roy Era might not leave the best taste in your mouth. That's an unavoidable reality when an All-Star's career is cut short at 27 because of meniscus. This last month was tough. It was bitter, and salty, and sour. It was disappointing, and confusing, and clunky, and protracted. But Roy poured his every ounce into his game and into his status as a role model, and he gave writers damn near every emotion Ė good and bad -- to reflect upon.

History has a way of forgetting the bad endings and remembering the masterpieces. I would not be surprised in the slightest if Roy finds a way back to the basketball court despite the reports that he is finished. But history wonít remember this ending or any comebacks bids. Before all else, history will say, assuming it still is -- or ever was -- the cool thing to say: Brandon Roy could cook with the best of them. He leaves the Blazers and the game of basketball way too early, but he left no doubt about that.

http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/12/15/2639329/brandon-roy-portland-trail-blazers

Tony_Starks
12-16-2011, 07:29 PM
Loved his game and how he conducted himself. The rare player that even the haters couldn't hate on.

Geargo Wallace
12-16-2011, 07:30 PM
"Tragic" is the only thought that I can muster right now.

Ebbs
12-16-2011, 08:10 PM
I was really dad to see this happen. Always liked the guy.

mightybosstone
12-16-2011, 11:15 PM
Just got done reading this article, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little choked up. Really heart wrenching...

waveycrockett
12-16-2011, 11:18 PM
Rip homie

The goods
12-16-2011, 11:28 PM
You just couldn't hate him,hope nothing but the best for him and his family.

naps
12-16-2011, 11:29 PM
What an amazing player...sad ending...

marj987
12-16-2011, 11:31 PM
Maybe he can get a job as an assistant coach for the Blazers?

tredigs
12-16-2011, 11:34 PM
An incredible player that played with poise that most couldn't even sniff. That's innate... can't teach it, and so few achieve it.

Appreciate that for what it is and REMEMBER, the dude has not passed; He's a multi-millionaire who had a short-lived but great run and got to show us what he's capable of. Much respect, zero pity.

BKLYNpigeon
12-16-2011, 11:35 PM
You guys speak of him as a god. Good player, short career. he will be forgotten in a year.

ManningToTyree
12-16-2011, 11:47 PM
So sad. He was a great player

DragonJaii
12-16-2011, 11:49 PM
very great player.. just horrible injury.

NYKnicks4511
12-16-2011, 11:57 PM
Dude ain't dead.

ChI_ShIzzLe
12-17-2011, 12:09 AM
I agree some of you are acting like he's dead. Yes it's sad as a basketball fan seeing a great player in his prime having to retire. But from a human perspective I don't give a **** about him because he has millions of dollars, and if he invests it well, he will live a great life as will his family. That's a guarantee for him. That's not the case for regular middle class ppl which I'm assuming most on these forums are. If we have some sort of injury where we can never work again, we're ****ing sitting home and living off of disability from the government.

BKLYNpigeon
12-17-2011, 12:17 AM
why is everyone on Brandon Roy's jock? he was a good player... but probably not a Hall of Famer. He had a short career, did really do anything noteworthy in the league. like I said before. He will be forgotten in a year or so.

mightybosstone
12-17-2011, 01:24 AM
I agree some of you are acting like he's dead. Yes it's sad as a basketball fan seeing a great player in his prime having to retire. But from a human perspective I don't give a **** about him because he has millions of dollars, and if he invests it well, he will live a great life as will his family. That's a guarantee for him. That's not the case for regular middle class ppl which I'm assuming most on these forums are. If we have some sort of injury where we can never work again, we're ****ing sitting home and living off of disability from the government.

Forget the money and the fame for a second and pretend like he was a regular guy. Have you ever had a moment of realization where you realize your dreams were over and that something amazing in your life wasn't going to happen? Maybe a girlfriend broke up with you? Or you realized your career choice wasn't ever going to happen? Remember how much that moment sucked?

This guy got to play in the NBA for five seasons, which is awesome. But at this peak (08-09), he was easily a top 10 player and was on his way to a potential hall of fame career.

And some of you say that it wasn't like he died, that he will have a great life. That's true, but he could have been immortalized as one of the greatest who ever played the game. Possibly even worse than how it affected him, it's a loss for the NBA and its fans. He was already in the Wade and Kobe category in terms of "best SGs in the league" discussions and if had had gotten another 10-12 years, who knows who much better he could have gotten. He could have been part of this next wave of talent we're seeing and helped catapult the Blazers into championship contention for the next decade.

If you can't see how much this sucks, then you're either being obtuse, are a heartless bastard or don't care for the league outside of your own team.

FriedTofuz
12-17-2011, 01:41 AM
Man why is this this thread named the way its named? Brandon roy isnt dead.

ChI_ShIzzLe
12-17-2011, 02:01 AM
Forget the money and the fame for a second and pretend like he was a regular guy. Have you ever had a moment of realization where you realize your dreams were over and that something amazing in your life wasn't going to happen? Maybe a girlfriend broke up with you? Or you realized your career choice wasn't ever going to happen? Remember how much that moment sucked?

This guy got to play in the NBA for five seasons, which is awesome. But at this peak (08-09), he was easily a top 10 player and was on his way to a potential hall of fame career.

And some of you say that it wasn't like he died, that he will have a great life. That's true, but he could have been immortalized as one of the greatest who ever played the game. Possibly even worse than how it affected him, it's a loss for the NBA and its fans. He was already in the Wade and Kobe category in terms of "best SGs in the league" discussions and if had had gotten another 10-12 years, who knows who much better he could have gotten. He could have been part of this next wave of talent we're seeing and helped catapult the Blazers into championship contention for the next decade.

If you can't see how much this sucks, then you're either being obtuse, are a heartless bastard or don't care for the league outside of your own team.
Did you not read the second sentence of my post? Other than this story being sad for sports fans, who gives a **** about the other factors. There were millions of people who were laid off when the economy collapsed 3 years ago. Those ppl had dreams too that we're devasted, did anyone talk about them? Not only were their dreams crushed, they didn't have millions of dollars sitting in their bank accounts. Roy is disappointed from a career perspective sure, but from a human perspective he's smiling and sleeping well at night knowing he and his family are financially secure for the rest of their lives. Those ppl who lost their careers who were making $40-$50k a year can't say the same. Sometimes you just have to forget about sports and legacies and greatness and just look at it from a life's perspective.

mightybosstone
12-17-2011, 02:33 AM
Did you not read the second sentence of my post? Other than this story being sad for sports fans, who gives a **** about the other factors. There were millions of people who were laid off when the economy collapsed 3 years ago. Those ppl had dreams too that we're devasted, did anyone talk about them? Not only were their dreams crushed, they didn't have millions of dollars sitting in their bank accounts. Roy is disappointed from a career perspective sure, but from a human perspective he's smiling and sleeping well at night knowing he and his family are financially secure for the rest of their lives. Those ppl who lost their careers who were making $40-$50k a year can't say the same. Sometimes you just have to forget about sports and legacies and greatness and just look at it from a life's perspective.

Dude... I'm not talking about from a real life perspective. And don't give me crap about how we need to "forget about sports and legacies and greatness." You have 11,000 posts on a sports forum!!! Clearly "sports and legacies and greatness" matters to you!!!

Comparatively, it would be like a great actor/actress quitting after only making a handful of great films for whatever reason (drugs, for example). To the average person, they'd go "who gives a crap, they're a millionaire and they enjoyed fame for several years?" But to a movie buff, that really sucks. Or a what about a great band that breaks up after only a handful of award-winning albums? Most people don't care, but a lot of music lovers would be devastated.

Sure, you can pull the "real world perspective" card on any of these conversations, but at the end of the day, it's less of a tragedy for that person and more of a tragedy for the craft itself and for those people who love that craft. Because these things matter. It's the stuff we're passionate about. And while it's not as tragic or as depressing as a failed economy, hunger, war, disease, etc., that doesn't mean it isn't still a tragedy to a certain extent.

The Final Boss
12-17-2011, 02:33 AM
I was really dad to see this happen. Always liked the guy.

Ever consider abortion?

I am Smart
12-17-2011, 03:39 AM
Wow, really guys? What's with all the haters in this thread? We know he's an athlete and made millions, but so have every other professional athlete. I thought we were past this. No one is showing pity in that he has passed away or anything, but for him to lose living his dream and playing the game. Even I got choked up a bit when I realized my baseball playing days were over after High School. I'm sure this is the same case for Roy, it's sad to see a great player like him have a career that is cut short, and for him to lose all of it because of injury. Show some respect and stop hating on people that haven't done any wrong to you.

AntiG
12-17-2011, 03:43 AM
He's not dead you know...

Kashmir13579
12-17-2011, 04:07 AM
Dude ain't dead.

:laugh:

Kashmir13579
12-17-2011, 04:09 AM
Dude... I'm not talking about from a real life perspective. And don't give me crap about how we need to "forget about sports and legacies and greatness." You have 11,000 posts on a sports forum!!! Clearly "sports and legacies and greatness" matters to you!!!

Comparatively, it would be like a great actor/actress quitting after only making a handful of great films for whatever reason (drugs, for example). To the average person, they'd go "who gives a crap, they're a millionaire and they enjoyed fame for several years?" But to a movie buff, that really sucks. Or a what about a great band that breaks up after only a handful of award-winning albums? Most people don't care, but a lot of music lovers would be devastated.

Sure, you can pull the "real world perspective" card on any of these conversations, but at the end of the day, it's less of a tragedy for that person and more of a tragedy for the craft itself and for those people who love that craft. Because these things matter. It's the stuff we're passionate about. And while it's not as tragic or as depressing as a failed economy, hunger, war, disease, etc., that doesn't mean it isn't still a tragedy to a certain extent.
great post.

Ty Fast
12-17-2011, 09:32 AM
i will always remember him for talkin bad about andre miller when they were team mates.

waveycrockett
12-17-2011, 09:42 AM
Brandon Roy is going to retire a ridiculously rich rich rich man and with both of his knees. I don't feel bad for him

BK-TY
12-17-2011, 10:48 AM
Why did Portland use their Amnesty option on Roy? If he can't play anymore and plans to retire would his salary still count against Portland's cap?

GeekInThePink
12-17-2011, 11:13 AM
I'll never forget that time he sent the game into OT when Jamario Moon fouled him, and he turned the play into a 4 point play.

Nets/Raiders!
12-17-2011, 11:24 AM
I feel bad for that dude man he was the future. Great player to watch and just an overall cool dude...

Kakaroach
12-17-2011, 12:20 PM
This really is one of the saddest things in the league but its being severely overlooked because of the craziness of FA/trades. Roy was one of the best SGs in the league just 2 years ago to this day and was simply amazing in that Game 4 last year of the first round.

Its a travesty really, I feel for the Blazer fans.

Beltrans Mole
12-17-2011, 12:41 PM
I understand the guy was a great player but injuries do happen, this is a sport. I mean a travesty? People are acting like this guy was a war hero who died tragically in battle lol. I like Brandon Roy and it sucks that he's retired, but the title almost made me think he passed away or something.

FlakeyFool
12-17-2011, 12:48 PM
get over it for ****s sake

The Final Boss
12-17-2011, 12:50 PM
Why did Portland use their Amnesty option on Roy? If he can't play anymore and plans to retire would his salary still count against Portland's cap?

No, man!! What the **** are people thinking when they conjure **** like this?

IndiansFan337
12-17-2011, 03:29 PM
I will always remember his Washington Huskies teams with Nate Robinson.

Minnesota is set themselves back another 5-8 years by dealing him away on draft day.

kobebabe
12-17-2011, 03:57 PM
I liked this dude and wished that one day he would be a laker but unfortunately it ended that way for him.
I wish him all the best. Good guy, great player!

netsgiantsyanks
12-17-2011, 05:50 PM
You guys speak of him as a god. Good player, short career. he will be forgotten in a year.

not really.

974life
12-17-2011, 06:20 PM
Wow, sounded like dude died

ChI_ShIzzLe
12-17-2011, 07:34 PM
Brandon Roy is going to retire a ridiculously rich rich rich man and with both of his knees. I don't feel bad for him

Thank you. The only thing that matters in life these days is how wealthy and financially secure you and your family are. **** everything else.