mikebarrett

Dec 09

Day One for the Books (Updated)

By mikebarrett Posted in: BrandonRoy, GregOden, LaMarcusAldridge
Well, that's not exactly what we had planned for the opening day of training camp. 

I almost didn't sit down to write tonight following Day 1, because I'm still trying to process what has just happened.  I think, acting as the leadoff hitter, and facing our first pitch, we just got a 102 mph fastball under the chin.

That's actually a terribly selfish way to look at this stuff.  Nothing that we, as fans, are feeling compares to the disappointment and immediate life adjustment Brandon Roy is dealing with.  But, if we do get caught feeling sorry for ourselves a bit over this, I don't think B would mind.  He's selfless enough to handle that.

Without taking a ton of time with giving you the back story (because you already know all of that), I'm just going to give you some thoughts as they pop into my head.  Then, I encourage you to do the same with your comments below.  Sorry if this seems scattered.

I've never known a player with better perspective or a better handle on his place in the Blazer world.  He always knew he was Brandon Roy, but unlike so many others in his position, never seemed to get caught up in his own headlines.  You always felt he was doing all of this for someone else. 

I have never been around another Blazer player who was more giving of his time, or more respectful in the process.  I don't like asking these guys for too much, or overstepping my bounds.  We have a job to do, and I try to be very careful with that.  And, be it an interview, a comment, or just a quick conversation on the team bus, Brandon never, ever, gave me the impression he was bothered.  We're around these guys a ton, and believe me, I can sense when they get sick of us.  I don't blame them.  We're always asking for something.  Everyone was always asking Brandon for something.  But, he always seem to realize that his job entailed more than just playing.  For this franchise, it most certainly did.

Brandon, without ever asking for credit, put this franchise on his back on so many occasions.  I got that feeling on the night we drafted him, and he joined us on the phone on our radio broadcast.  Everyone got that feeling in game 4 of the playoff series with Dallas last spring.  And those are just the bookends on his amazing run.  How odd that after that historic personal performance against Dallas he would play just two more games in his career.

I don't feel like it's going too far to say he rescued this franchise (a story you're also very familiar with).  For that reason, I'll always think all of this was ultimately worth it.  Even if it ended way too soon.  As emotionally crushed as he is right now, I'm sure he feels the same way.

The sad part is, I'm not sure when we'll see another player like him.  Are the emotions far too fresh for us to be able to accurately rank him in terms of importance to this franchise's history?  I don't think so.  Because after last season, through all of the struggle, we started to realize that this day would eventually come way too soon.  We didn't think it would be this soon, however.

Last Monday, when I was told of the conversation Roy had with Larry Miller, Chad Buchanan, and Nate McMillan, at Miller's house, I started to let myself believe that maybe a miracle had happened, and that his knees would actually allow him to produce more magical moments.  Even as late as Thursday night we sat in a broadcast meeting talking about how we would handle the expectations going forward with Brandon, and how perhaps the lockout actually may have been a blessing to his condition.

Then came Friday morning.

I saw that I had 23 text messages when I turned on my phone at 7:30 am.  I only had to read one to know what all of the others were about.

Roy's teammates got the word later in the morning.  Buchanan broke the news to them in a team meeting.  We all knew that this day wouldn't be about the first day of training camp, or a new point guard, or how odd it was that we were beginning a season the day after Christmas.  It was going to be all about Brandon.  We'd had those days before, but it's strange to think we won't have one again.

Just days earlier Wesley Matthews had said that he couldn't even imagine the Portland Trail Blazers without Brandon Roy.  Marcus Camby, after Friday's first practice, pointed up at the retired numbers hanging in the practice facility, and simply said, "he belongs up there."  I'm sure you agree.  I don't think that's an if.  That's a when.

I'll miss that devastating crossover.  I'll miss the left handed finishes around the rim.  I'll miss his flair for the dramatic, and his courage to take over a game.  I'll mostly miss what he meant to this team, to its fans, and to the city.  I guess we'll always have that, it's just sad that it's now going to be only in the past tense. 

I don't know where he's going, but I hope he doesn't go far.

We still need him.

This league needs more players like him. 

(Late Friday night Brandon, Paul Allen, and Larry Miller issued initial statements on this situation).

BRANDON ROY
"This is a very difficult and painful day. I love the game, I love the Portland Trail Blazers and I love our fans, but after consulting with my doctors, I will seek a determination that I've suffered a career ending injury, pursuant to the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.

"My family and health are most important to me and in the end this decision was about them and my quality of life. I want to thank Paul Allen, Larry Miller, Coach McMillan, the entire Trail Blazers organization and our fans for all of their love and support during my time in Portland. It was a great ride."

PAUL ALLEN

"Like every Blazer fan, I am very sad to learn that Brandon's playing days have ended. Up until Thursday night we were looking forward to seeing him back on the court Friday for the first day of practice.

"I want to personally thank Brandon for all he's done as a Trail Blazer, on and off the court. He is a true All-Star and we all rooted for him as he gave us so many amazing moments during his five years as a Blazer."

LARRY MILLER
"Brandon Roy will always be a Trail Blazer in our hearts and minds. He was an All-Star and a warrior every night that he stepped on the court and gave everything he had to help us win. He was a role model on and off the court, and through his leadership he turned us into a winning franchise once again."

Nate McMillan Speaks on the First Day of Training Camp:

Chad Buchanan Speaks about Roy, Oden and Aldridge:

If you want to leave notes and stories about Brandon, please leave them in the comments or in this messageboard thread. We'll get them to him.

Next Story: The Rock

32 Comments

  1. It's a sad day, and it's obviously hitting us all hard, even though we really knew it might happen at any time. We've been there when friends or relatives were slipping away in the hospital, and the moment it has finally happened, no matter how much it was expected, is always different than how you thought it would be. What matters next is how the team takes it. With all the bad news hitting at once, I began to wonder whether this might be the year the Blazers finally get derailed by the dramatic disappointments that have been pounding them for so long. Then I remembered what Nate and the other coaches have done before, in crisis after crisis, and I realized that we'll still have a hard-fought season, rather than a complete travesty. Sometime in the middle of all the jammed-together games there will be a moment to pay tribute to Brandon, and when that moment comes it will be a determined, fighting team that chokes back the tears and then jumps back into action. It's the end of an era, but I believe it's also the beginning of a new one we will one day be proud to have followed from the start.

    by Islander on 12/9/2011 11:40 PM
  2. This is a sad day indeed Camby's statement is so true he belongs up with the greats. I will miss Brandon. I was young when Drexler left but i was wondering did it feel like this. I know Brandon did what was best for his health and im ok with that but me being addicted to Basketball and more addicted to the Blazers it hurt's to think that we lost one of the guys that brought us out of jail blazers but i like to think Lamarcus had alot to do with that as well.

    Now with that being said i am a strong believer that every thing happens for a reason. My hope is that we have a diamond in the rough in Elliot or Nolan. Watching Elliot play in college and in work out tape excites me I am ready to see what he can do. Also i have alot of faith in Mathews i think people forget he is only a third year player i think he has more upside yet to come. Who knows he might be the diamond in the rough i mean he is already forming we just have to cut and fine tune him.

    Brandon you will be a blazer for life hope to see u in the organization one way or the other. We as fans are not ready to lose u.

    Blazer fan for Life

    by Avgjoe28 on 12/9/2011 11:52 PM
  3. First, I want to say how nice it was to finally see a Mike Barrett Blog on here again, but sadly, the topic is far from nice or satisfying. And reading the blog, I finally feel the blows of the news for a second time, and now, everything is finally becoming real.
    When I first read about Roy, I was just waking up, just getting ready to head to work. My mind was in to much of a rush to really let everything process or be allowed to settle on what Roy meant, what he means to this team. Now I've had that moment.
    Reading this blog reminded me of all the right reasons we have grown to love Roy over the years, and reminded me how excitted I was less than a week ago to find out that we were keeping Roy this season and that he would play. That he was feeling good. That the extra time had allowed his knees to heal as well as they could.
    Camby and Mike are both right, Roy belongs in the rafters of the Rose Garden. I would be extreamly disappointed if his jersey didn't make it up there, but I agree that it's more of a when, not an if.
    It may never rain in Autzen, but the clouds sure hung low in Rip City today.

    Roy, thank you for everything you have done. For me, for the next Blazer fan next to me. For the Blazer team and organization, and most of all, what you've done for this great city that is Portland.

    by Jestatom on 12/10/2011 12:26 AM
  4. Not much more could be said. I feel bad for the guy. I apologize if I offend anyone but there are so many douche bags in this league that deserve this way more than Roy ever did. You are right, it did seem like Roy was putting on great performances for more than himself, but for the team. He never once had a game where he just played for himself and only cared for himself. Same cannot be said about Wade, LeBron, CP3, Kobe, Bosh, Melo, Stoudamire... the list grows.

    Roy will be missed, and I hope he remains part of the Blazers, be it broadcasting or coaching. I know he won't go far. He's still a Blazer in my book, and I hope he feels he's still a Blazer in his heart.

    by Herr on 12/10/2011 1:17 AM
  5. RIP (retire in peace) Brandon, we will always think of you as a Blazer. As the years pass, I think BRoy will be remembered right along with Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Clyde Drexler, and the other all-time Blazers. His career was too short but just as sweet.
    ---
    don

    by dgpdx on 12/10/2011 1:26 AM
  6. Mike;
    I am starting to believe there is truly a jink in Blazer land; this is the third year straight that the injury bug is at its peak. I kept saying it could be worst and guess what it got worst.

    I fought so hard in debates on BE, to say that we should let BRoy's knees be the reason for amnesty or not playing not the money. It is almost like he planned it that way so as the Staff didn't have to make a decision or didn't have to be loyal.

    I have often said that BRoy's injury would win, I didn't know when and that made me sound like a naysayer, but as you know I was far from a naysayer. I had big hopes that PRP could really buy him time.

    I had doubts about his knees all summer because of the missed charity games and staying out of the public view. When he had the meeting with our big three front office staff, I thought WOW, I was wrong, he is better, but I still had that nagging feeling that he was going to have to prove it; I also had the nagging feeling that he would try, then fail and it would be more of the last two years for BRoy. In that respect, I am glad he finally finished the nightmare. I don't know how much I am saddened with BRoy ending his career, because I had been building up for it since they said he had no Meniscus left. But of course I feel saddened and pity for myself, and although that in it self is sad it is understandable as BRoy was solely responsible for helping the Blazers be respectful again.

    I knew that BRoy couldn't be the super star that he once was, except in short spurts, but I was building up hopes that he could morph into a different type special player.

    Logically speaking BRoy still has a great life; he has two great families in the Blazers and in his private life. He earned enough money to provide for his family a life time, and he had some great moments to cherish the rest of his life. That isn't too bad for a guy in his 20's. I am not sure that I heard Chad right since I am hard of hearing, but I thought I heard him say that BRoy would continue working for the Blazers in some respect because he will always be a Blazer. BRoy got a taste of Glory, Is it better to be a has been or a never was. Many of us has our big dreams, but are never quite good enough to accomplish them, BRoy got to fulfill his dreams because he was good enough. So he will always have that

    by Hg on 12/10/2011 2:09 AM
  7. Mike:

    Greg's set back is also a disappointing way to start the season, LMA turned out just to be a scare, but that was bad, I seems as my heart strings are being played with. I started re-dreaming of seeing Greg, LMA and Brandon on the court together one more time then having all three of them yanked out of my dream again. It might be best to quit dreaming.

    by Hg on 12/10/2011 2:17 AM
  8. No comment on Oden, that's just pathetic, so I wont go there. I can't speak on Roy right now. Get well LMA. Hang in there Blazer fans..we will see this through.

    by L.T.G on 12/10/2011 3:43 AM
  9. the labor dispute soured me so much i thought i lost heart for these professional basketball players until i heard the news today. i didn't shed a tear but i did cry inside. not for me, not for the blazers, but for roy.

    brandon roy brought back the joy i enjoyed as a kid in rooting for the blazers. he made the big plays, he said the right things, and he was sincere. you can't bs sincerity.

    part of what portland fans appreciate so much about the blazers is that they are usually a group of guys who represent our city and state with class. nobody represented better.

    i'm sad for roy that he has to give up the game he loves so much. i'm sad that it had to end so early. but for selfish reasons i'm happy that he is retiring as a blazer. him retiring as a blazer is a feather in our cap.

    thanks for the many hours of entertainment roy. you made the game more fun to watch and gave me reason to believe that the game isn't over until the fat lady sings.

    enjoy your life roy. i hope to see you on tv in the near future.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 12/10/2011 6:48 AM
  10. Thank you Brandon. You gave all you had. To walk away from the game now cannot feel good. When your mind says you can still do it and your body says something else it is a personal struggle. Stay busy. Accept the things you have. You are burned into our memories. You gave this city, state a team to be proud of. To look around the league and see all the thugs and egos, we were different here. I remember the year you and your teammates were having babies at the same time. Family, that's what we are about here. Stick around. We like to keep family close.
    As for basketball, We will field a team. Fill the roster. Have success.
    Get well LA.

    by Divotking on 12/10/2011 7:51 AM
  11. Even I...am at a loss for words.... A Brandon Roy comes along once a lifetime not only his heart and his skills ,but his willingness to share himself with as a human being with reporters and fans,

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/10/2011 9:43 AM
  12. On a light note,MB ,you almost did a back to back to back blog.

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/10/2011 9:46 AM
  13. Thanks Mike,

    We just lost A LOT for our franchise here. Hope Paul and Nate have some kind of plan on how to lift it back up. As I posted in the appreciation thread for Brandon, his talents, efforts, and all he did for us...we are all better people for it. Young college and HS stars have someone they can take a look at, that had all the talent in the World, and a great message: Stay humble. I won't really be able to use mere words to thank this man, but surely I will go on remembering him as one of the most amazing players I have ever seen.

    by Bull Frog on 12/10/2011 11:39 AM
  14. BRANDON ROY! YOU ARE HE REASON I STARTED WATCHING BASKETBALL AGAIN.. i started crying when i herd u were retiring... all i did thru tha lockout was watch that game 4 vs dallas. now i watch videos of u in ur greatest moments. its going to be different with u not being on tha court. but no matter what you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be a blazer =) THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!! you changed the face of the franchise. basketball is better ith you in it. you mean sooooo much to the team!!!! we alllll love you!! i have a poster of u in my room and its gonna stay there forever. you will always be remembered on and off the court. u did so much for this team. you arnt cocky or arigant like alot of players in the nba.!!! =) your humble and down to earth. you set a great example for people. you a great player! kobe bryant said you are the hardest player to gaurd! gosh brandon your a amazing person and player and youll always be remebered. stay heathy! i hope one day i see u play basketball again :) once a blazer always a blazer ;)

    by brandonroy<3 on 12/10/2011 1:23 PM
  15. BRANDON ROY! YOU ARE HE REASON I STARTED WATCHING BASKETBALL AGAIN.. i started crying when i herd u were retiring... all i did thru tha lockout was watch that game 4 vs dallas. now i watch videos of u in ur greatest moments. its going to be different with u not being on tha court. but no matter what you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be a blazer =) THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!! you changed the face of the franchise. basketball is better ith you in it. you mean sooooo much to the team!!!! we alllll love you!! i have a poster of u in my room and its gonna stay there forever. you will always be remembered on and off the court. u did so much for this team. you arnt cocky or arigant like alot of players in the nba.!!! =) your humble and down to earth. you set a great example for people. you a great player! kobe bryant said you are the hardest player to gaurd! gosh brandon your a amazing person and player and youll always be remebered. stay heathy! i hope one day i see u play basketball again :) once a blazer always a blazer ;)

    by brandonroy<3 on 12/10/2011 1:23 PM
  16. always and forever a blazer

    by brandonroy<3 on 12/10/2011 1:24 PM
  17. Well I was glued to the news like alot of blazer fans yesterday.
    I have always been a huge Roy fan and I shall miss him greatly in a blazer uniform. But he had to do what he thinks is right and we will move forward with awesome memories of the natural. What an amazing talent he was! We watched put up big games against the best defenders in the nba. His basketball iq was insane and that cross over was deadly. Brandon had such a uncanny way of getting to the rim and or making the big shot.
    All this on bad legs! Can u even imagine if he had good legs? In pure talent wise he was right there with kobe&wade...so with good legs sky would have been the limit and after kobe retired, Roy would have been the west's premier highlight reel. But that didnt happen and we gotta just be happy with what we did get.

    Thank you Brandon for the memories and what you did for this franchise. Look forward to seeing #7 hanging in the rafters down the road.

    by whitefeather21380 on 12/10/2011 1:40 PM
  18. Why our team? why that player? why now?

    by L.T.G on 12/10/2011 2:19 PM
  19. Class!!!!!!!

    by basketmatt on 12/10/2011 3:00 PM
  20. this news about Brandon will be the underlying story of the season. i remember there being some great representatives of portland to play for the blazers -- that's one of the things my dad noted to me when he first taught me about the team -- but no one has done more for the team, its fans, its city and its image than Brandon. period.

    i was saddened by the news, but i understand it. i understand the priority, which is Brandon's health and quality of life. given reports of what i've heard, he is making the right decision. in fact, after reading Brandon's statement, i am convinced of that.

    i saw a tweet last night about there being over 30 instances when Brandon made a play to either win the game or send it into overtime. that, combined with all the plays he made during games makes it impossible to pick just one or two instances. i've loved them all.

    the biggest highlight of Brandon's short career hasn't come on the court. it was the image of decency and teamsmanship from day one that led the blazers out of the dark era. he's always been positive Brandon came along just at the time we needed him. as the face of the franchise, he turned the team from something many scoffed at to a team which began getting much acclaim and honor.

    i can't pick just one thing on or off the court because Brandon's contributions to the blazers, on and off the court, are best served by looking at the overall picture.

    at least that's the way i see it.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/10/2011 3:54 PM
  21. Mike, wonderful article. Thanks for the insight, I would say you know him better than a lot of people close to the game and you portrayed him the way he should be. Selfless. I wish I was more like Roy. I just wanted to thank you for writing that, I remember all the interviews and whatnot, and you are so right. The scary thing and hardest thing for me is what Vinnie said about there never being another Roy. That is tough for me because the kid spelled championship all over the place. I felt like as long as he was here, it would happen. I still am optimistic, but it's a major loss. The Blazers will never be the same. Maybe I'd feel better if he somehow got a job with team or broadcasters but it still won't feel right. Retiring his jersey, come on? He's 27. Whitefeather said it best, we're lucky for what we got and it was nothing short of amazing. donpdx is right, his name should be there with Glide, Walton etc.. I have seen a lot of stars in person at games: LeBron, Kobe, Rose, Gasol, Nash, Billups, Shaq,Durant etc...and my favorite players to watch all time, Brandon Roy and his 90's counterpart Clyde Drexler.

    by Bull Frog on 12/11/2011 12:08 AM
  22. Hey ,I've got it......We could resign #Broy to help #KurtThomas get up when he falls....Haha

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/11/2011 11:00 AM
  23. So we get Kurt, and the Pacers are going to get Pendergraph? Not cool. Wonder why the Blazers are going different direction. Jeff adds some fun and excitement, keeping the Blazers positive, and hes a solid back up pf. Darn.....

    Hopefully we least get Joel back.

    by whitefeather21380 on 12/11/2011 1:26 PM
  24. whitefeather21380
    This is IMO only, I think they are looking for short term help, depending on Greg, and Joe Freeland to be available next year. Pendy was sure to want more then a 1 or two year contract.

    by Hg on 12/11/2011 1:34 PM
  25. Possibly Hg, I would think that after missing most or all of last season, cant remember now honestly, and the fact that he seems to be in Portland alot and enjoys it here, he would take almost any contract. Reasonable contract that is. Maybe he was asking for 3+ years, or more money than the Blazers were thinking...regardless I am disappointed. Kurt Thomas? Meh....guess he a warm body with a heart beat that can fill up a position.

    by whitefeather21380 on 12/11/2011 4:18 PM
  26. by whitefeather21380 on 12/11/2011 4:18 PM
  27. i'm guessing with the money we had available, Thomas was probably the best available. i wouldn't have minded signing back Pendergraph, but we knew it wasn't an automatic. at least, in the short term, Thomas is a good acquisition.

    still reflecting on the Brandon Roy news; so much so, that i wrote my own blog. please check it out:

    http://tinyurl.com/cgpvcfy

    thanks!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/11/2011 4:46 PM
  28. BTW ...Kurt Thomas ,......hands down...BEST SCOWL IN THE NBA....lol

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/11/2011 5:04 PM
  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=ULbTY8vQUPCQA&v=bTY8vQUPCQA
    &feature=player_detailpage

    watch this video!!! all i can say is amazing... its about roy

    by brandonroy<3 on 12/11/2011 6:12 PM
  30. illl never forget you roy... u have the biggest heart in the nba

    by brandonroy<3 on 12/11/2011 6:12 PM
  31. He was always so smooth..Always under control..You always felt the Blazers had a chance if Roy was on the floor..I am sure his teammates felt the same...I would say he was the greatest player drafted by the Blazers since Drexler...I think if Roy had stayed healthy we would have had a chance to see them reach the Western Conf Finals...Add a healthy Oden and the Finals would have certainly been within reach...But its something we will never see now...Roy will be fine..We will be fine..The Blazers wil be fine..This opens the door for Matthews to develop, and if he can add to the year he had last year , then the 2 guard position will be in good hands...Just remember all the great highlights of Roy...All the crossovers...The smooth jumpers...Getting to the rim with such ease and grace...I will miss him...He just had a class about him that the NBA is always so short of....

    by kciz4jc on 12/11/2011 7:08 PM
  32. i want Roy to play again

    by sopadeajo on 12/13/2011 2:12 PM
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