There’s no denying it’s been a dizzying day in Rip City. Brandon Roy—who we all thought was ready to play—is retiring. The sudden news was followed by the afternoon shock that Greg Oden suffered a “setback”
and may not play this season. And as if that wasn’t enough, the night ended with Interim General Manager Chad Buchanan informing us that LaMarcus Aldridge will be out for a week
or so following a heart procedure.
And just in case you missed it, training camp opened today too.
It’s a day we should be celebrating the exciting beginning of another NBA season. Basketball should be the focus. We should be finding out how Nate McMillan plans to adapt the offense to new point guard Raymond Felton’s faster style and figuring out how we’ll shift guys to fill a shortage in the front court. But we’re not.
Instead we’re grieving. Even in an onslaught of news there’s one story that stands among the rest. It’s the loss of a dream we’ve been nurturing since a fresh-faced Brandon Roy first posed for pictures holding his number seven Trail Blazers jersey. The thrill we felt after a 52-point performance in Phoenix, a buzzer-beater in Houston and most recently, an 18-point fourth quarter to triumph over the Mavericks. But beyond the basketball we’re feeling for a man who is one of our own and has been since he helped pull this franchise back from the brink. We’re sharing his pain.
Three-year teammate Nicolas Batum expressed his sadness at Roy’s departure, but was quick to emphasize his confidence in the core of the team that remains. After the news of the morning Batum said the squad took extra care to focus on the fast-approaching season. Facing inexperience on the depth chart, he shrugged off the rookie stigma, clearly confident in the crop of young guys Portland has on board.
The newest face to the practice facility—and the Trail Blazers offensive and defensive systems—also took time to address the retirement of Roy. Felton’s respect for the former all-star was clear, as was his view on facing adversity. It makes you stronger. After seeing his new teammates perform through a long, tough day of drills he's confident there are plenty of guys ready and willing to make their mark.
As we reflect on the happenings of the first day of training camp, and before we push onward to day two, lets take a few moments to reflect on the shared love we have for Brandon. A stand-up competitor who would want every Trail Blazer fan to continue to share his passion for the game.
Basketball will go on. Tomorrow.