Brandon Roy: ‘That Doesn’t Mean I Have To Quit Because I’m Not Gonna Be The Old Brandon Roy’
By sarahhecht Posted in: BrandonRoy
It’s not easy to overcome injury. Worse when that injury threatens your entire career. Everything you’ve dreamed of, every thing you’ve worked for and everything you’ve always longed to do all teetering on the edge.
The gut-wrenching feeling you get thinking about the devastation doesn’t begin to compare to the all-engulfing abyss Trail Blazers superstar Brandon Roy faced during the 2010-2011 season. Knees swelling and surgery to come, Roy feared for the worst. He feared for the end.
Now, six-months after successful treatment and a triumphant return—leading a playoff comeback of epic proportions to be exact—it’s easier for the three-time All-Star to reflect on the season not as a year riddled with doubt and pain, but a year of growth and maturation.
“I got through it,” Roy said. “There was a point where I didn’t know if I would play during the season. I think on the outside looking in so many people wanted so much, and me, I was happy to be playing and being on the court. That was a huge plus for me so I look at the season, I’m a little more positive about it than maybe others.”
With basketball off the menu for a few months, and the distance from the season lengthening every day, Roy has been using the downtime to rest and rehabilitate.
“I’ve been taking it pretty easy,” Roy said of the beginning of his summer hiatus. “I haven’t played any basketball, but that’s normal. I don’t really play until about July. Just doing small things and mainly just relaxing.”
Relaxing and mentally preparing.
There’s change on the horizon and Roy acknowledges it isn’t going to be easy. With thoughts of returning to the “Brandon Roy of old” in the rearview mirror, it’s time to focus on the future.
The future is bright for Roy. Oozing with talent enough to reinvigorate an entire franchise, Roy knows it’s not about being his old self. Instead it’s the time to do some soul searching. Time to test his body in different ways. Time to develop new strengths and discard old moves that aren’t successful with his new body. It’s time to adapt.
“You have to just change your game. For me it’s difficult to because I’m always thinking, being the ‘Brandon Roy of old,’ that’s not gonna happen so you have to move forward,” Roy said. “I’m at a place where I’m ready to move forward and understand that I have to change my game. That doesn’t mean I have to quit because I’m not gonna be the old Brandon Roy. In that case I think every player would have to quit because nobody’s gonna be their old self. But my biggest thing is just being positive and trying to continue to improve the player that I am now and get better at what I can still do. I feel like I can still be effective and help this team.”
Roy knows the path will be treacherous and mentally painful, but he also knows it’s been done before. He’s not the first superstar to face the challenge of injury—think Amar’e Stoudamire and Grant Hill—and be forced to modify his game as a result.
“I just understand that’s part of being in the NBA. Had a lot of good years, a lot of years that are really smooth and I sat back and said ‘Wow, that was perfect’ and reflecting on this one, for me it’s one that I think helped me mature. Not only as a basketball player but even as an individual.”
With July fast-approaching, and countless hours of work-outs looming, Roy is game-planning for a mentally arduous summer in the gym. Coaches, teammates and game film will fill the hours between now and next season.
“I’m gonna go back and watch some old games, but more importantly talk to our coaches and see like ‘Coach, where was I good? Where was I not so strong? And with how my body is now what positions on the court do you want me to work at to be able to help this team?’” Roy said. “Watching film and at the same time having conversations and getting come constructive criticism but getting all those things and also talking to friends and seeing how I can get better.”
Improvement is all that matters. Without an ounce of quit in him, and the doubts about his future thoroughly in the past, Roy’s future is his for the taking. Only continual hard work and time will tell the rest of Roy’s story. A story which, with any luck, will end years from now with Roy reflecting on how his summer of rebuilding made him a better player than he was before.