When Brandon Roy was told that Kobe Bryant, during a recent interview, said Brandon was the toughest player for him to guard
, Roy's reaction was similar to what a lot of people were probably thinking.
"He said that?"
Indeed he did. Yellow Mamba
, meet your biggest fan, Black Mamba.
Roy's performance in the Trail Blazers' season-opening win versus the Phoenix Suns backed up Kobe's claim nicely. The line: 24 points on 9 of 20 shooting, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, six assists, three rebounds and three steals in 40 minutes (which feels more like 45 minutes against an uptempo team like Phoenix). The result: Portland's tenth-straight home opening win in front of a lively crowd of 20,603 at the Rose Garden.
The conventional wisdom is that Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who already owns one scoring title going into his fourth NBA season, is the only thing standing between LeBron James and roughly ten consecutive MVP trophies. And that could very well be true, but when Kobe is picking teams, he's says he's taking B-Roy, who he describes as a player with "no weakness in his game."
"I'm honored by the compliment," said Roy. "I think, after Michael Jordan retired, when I was a kid Kobe Bryant was the only person I had a jersey of, so I was a huge fan of his in middle school and high school. It's an honor."
There's no arguing that point, especially coming from one of the best to ever play the game, but praise from Caesar isn't exactly racing to inflate Roy's head. After all, Roy is as renaissance off the court as he is on it, so he's self-aware enough to know the credibility and respect he's earned during five seasons in the NBA don't come to those who get caught believing their own press clippings, even if it's a player heaping the praise.
"It's great (to be complimented by Bryant) but at the same time, I've got to go out there and play my game," said Roy. "I think those guys make those compliments because of how I play the game. They think I'm a good player and they think I play the right way, so that's the way I'm going to try and keep it up.
"(Kobe) has got five championships. I've got some weaknesses I've got to improve on. I've got to win some championships. I've got to try and prove that statement right."
As for whether he agrees with Kobe's contention, Roy answer was as comfortably boring (and I mean that in the best way possible), clever and team-oriented as his game.
"I don't really get into the comparison of players," said Roy. "I'm motivated to help this team win that that's just my number one goal. So I don't really know how to answer that question other than to say the Blazers take me over everybody, so I'm going to do my best to prove the Blazers right."