Kassandra

Dec 11

i woke up, went for my run and came back to prepare some breakfast for me and my dormmate. as i typically do, i was checking tweets from overnight when i saw the tweet from Chris Broussard. for seemingly the longest time, he was the only one reporting it (others were tweeting, attributing their news to his report). following the optimistic outlook on monday evening, this blindsided me. i kept telling myself, "it's only one report. it's only one report." a second source came in, then a third. as it does when this kind of news happens, twitter blew up.

like you, MB, i knew Brandon's career would be cut short -- but not this short. 
i woke up, went for my run and came back to prepare some breakfast for me and my dormmate. as i typically do, i was checking tweets from overnight when i saw the tweet from Chris Broussard. for seemingly the longest time, he was the only one reporting it (others were tweeting, attributing their news to his report). following the optimistic outlook on monday evening, this blindsided me. i kept telling myself, "it's only one report. it's only one report." a second source came in, then a third. as it does when this kind of news happens, twitter blew up.

like you, MB, i knew Brandon's career would be cut short -- but not this short. 
i woke up, went for my run and came back to prepare some breakfast for me and my dormmate. as i typically do, i was checking tweets from overnight when i saw the tweet from Chris Broussard. for seemingly the longest time, he was the only one reporting it (others were tweeting, attributing their news to his report). following the optimistic outlook on monday evening, this blindsided me. i kept telling myself, "it's only one report. it's only one report." a second source came in, then a third. as it does when this kind of news happens, twitter blew up.

like you, MB, i knew Brandon's career would be cut short -- but not this short. 
i woke up, went for my run and came back to prepare some breakfast for me and my dormmate. as i typically do, i was checking tweets from overnight when i saw the tweet from Chris Broussard. for seemingly the longest time, he was the only one reporting it (others were tweeting, attributing their news to his report). following the optimistic outlook on monday evening, this blindsided me. i kept telling myself, "it's only one report. it's only one report." a second source came in, then a third. as it does when this kind of news happens, twitter blew up.

like you, MB, i knew Brandon's career would be cut short -- but not this short. 
     
THE BREAKING NEWS

I went to bed Thursday night in the most wonderful of moods. With finals coming up, I was confident that I would do well. I felt good about being able to go home for the holidays. I even had a bit of an evil grin that the initial trade attempt to send Chris Paul to the Lakers had been foiled (call it my anti-Laker blood).

Following my morning run, I went back to my dorm room to prepare some breakfast. This is the time I usually check my twitter feed to take a look at conversations which have occurred overnight. and to enter my good morning tweet to my followers.

Then I saw it. ESPN's Chris Broussard cited sources saying that Brandon Roy was going to seek a medical retirement. At first, I thought Broussard was off his rocker. I started noticing other reports, but they were all referencing Broussard. It was taking a while to get confirmation.

Then, my twitter feed blew up. Another report came. And another. This was being confirmed by nearly everyone. Brandon Roy's career was to come to an end.

It was a strange sense of sadness and honor. There was no desperation; just admiration. After all, a week ago, it very well looked as though Brandon might be waived (or amnestied, if you prefer). There was cause for optimism last Monday when news broke that Brandon was feeling great. In fact, he was feeling better than when he was entering last season. He might even regain his starting position.

That won't be. What we have is a legacy we can't truly yet measure.


FAVORITE MOMENTS

When someone asks you what your favorite Brandon Roy moment is, how do you answer that? Certainly, there are a plethora of impactful shots, runs and plays from which to choose. I have often lamented with others about this question. Even when these respective answers differ, there is no disagreement. Each moment stands both by itself and as a tribute to Brandon's overall body of work.

One thing which sticks out for me, personally, is a team moment. When Brandon stepped out on to the court right before game 4 of the 2010 playoff series against phoenix, infusing his team with an increased sense of spirit and motivation. This is the moment which occurred just nine days after having surgery on his knee. It wasn't only his teammates who were infused with spirit. I wasn't at the Rose Garden that day, but it was clearly evident that the fans there had gotten -- and would remain -- loud. It was certainly that way at my house.

There are countless shots which could be singled out, countless game winners, countless exceptional plays.

Perhaps my favorite moment came just a few months ago. Coincidentally, in another game 4, another home playoff game; this time against Dallas in April. By now, we all know how Brandon took over that game and brought the Blazers back from 18 down in the fourth quarter (21 down if you include the three-pointer he hit with less than two seconds left in the third). That is the stuff legends are made of. It was at that moment when many thought his knees would allow him to continue playing for a few more years, and to be productive at that.

I blogged the following about Brandon's performance: Winning Game 4 was 'Natural'

I go back three days from that game four. Brandon scored 16 points (7 in each of the second and third quarters), dished out 4 assists, grabbed a rebound and added a steal as the Blazers won by a 97-92 score. Brandon was integral in helping the Blazers pick up the win, and looked great in the process. He looked great in the game; played intelligently and athletically. The most important thing, as Brandon himself would probably tell you, is that Portland won the game.

With those two performances, back-to-back, Brandon's future with the Blazers surely looked promising.

Brandon takes over in game 4 against Dallas (courtesy pinwheelempire.com)

NO MORE DARK ERA

It's no secret that before Brandon got here, things were not going well for the team. To be truthful, things had been going downhill for a few years. The team had signed a registered sex offender, one player had heaved a ball and hit a rookie center in the head, another had thrown a towel in a teammate's face late in a game, and still another had been found guilty for staging dogfights at his home. Things were not going well at all. Some fans were not even going to games; there were empty seats in the Rose Garden stands.

The number of wins declined, so much so that the Blazers finished the 2005-06 season at 21-61 -- the worst record in the league. The draft lottery gave them the fourth pick, but the Blazers weren't satisfied with one good player at number four. Through a pair of trades, They acquired second pick LaMarcus Aldridge and sixth pick Brandon Roy of Texas and Washington, respectively.

Both came into Blazers camp and seemingly immediately we were seeing the light through the dark both on and off the court. Perhaps the most impressive report regarding Brandon was when he stood up in the locker room that rookie season and told his teammates -- veterans and youngsters alike -- that it everyone had to step up, himself included. I firmly believe it's at that moment when Brandon became the face of the Blazers franchise.

Brandon stepped up big time and showed why the team traded for him. He was a leader; he was a star; he was a fan favorite. He capped off his first NBA season by winning the league's Rookie of the Year honor and making the all-NBA all-rookie first team. LaMarcus didn't do too shabby either, also being named to the all-rookie first team.

The two fresh-faced rookies had the Blazers heading in the right direction -- on the court (plus-11 improvement in wins from the previous year) and off the court. Fans were starting to come back and Rip City was again beginning to take pride in their team.

Brandon was so impressive as the new leader of the Blazers and with his R.O.Y. award (seriously, how prophetic was that?!), that the organizaiton sent him to represent the team at the draft lottery.. Despite having just the seventh-best chance of winning the first pick, Brandon sat at his Trail Blazers marked position and watched as the team was awarded the first pick. If it was possible, fans were liking him even more by that point.

Bringing home the number one draft pick in 2007

MOVING FORWARD

I remember reports that spring of 2007 of Brandon and LaMarcus meeting prospective first picks Greg Oden and Kevin Durant at the airport for their respective workouts. Yet another example of how Portlanders want their players to be.

Brandon was gracious to the fans, and they were gracious to him. Thanks in big part to Brandon Roy, Blazers fans had their team back; the team they wanted, and the honorable type of players which had been missing.

Brandon was voted to the all-star team the next three years. Fans loved that. Not only had he led the charge to repair the franchise, thanks to Brandon, the team was starting to receive some acclaim and honor. National analysts were taking notice of this emerging Portland team.

In 2007-08 the Blazers again improved their win total from the previous season, this time by nine games to a respectable 41-41. Fans were excited and chomping at the bit for the following season.

They were not disappointed. Thanks to Brandon, LaMarcus and Greg, the Blazers won 54 games that year, shared the Northwest Division tittle and earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They fell in six games to Houston that year, but all of Rip City knew the Blazers were back.

Brandon would lead the team into the playoffs in 2009-10, against Phoenix, only to miss the first three games before his dramatic emergence in game four just nine games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee.

Due to his knee injuries, Brandon missed a good portion off last season. He didn't quite look like the guy we remembered from the previous years. Out of necessity, the offense was reworked. The main option now was to go through LaMarcus. That was the plan now. Second-year free agent acquisition Wesley Matthews was in place at Brandon's position. Things had changed with the lineup. Brandon would be in an unfamiliar position -- coming off the bench.

The Blazers once again made the playoffs, and were set against Dallas. The Mavericks took two games, then came the aforementioned games three and four which would turn out to be Brandon's final finest hours.

As you know, the Blazers fell in that series in six games and the Blazers' season was over. Little did we know it also marked the end of Brandon's career as a player.

Going up for two of his co-team high 18 points in the 2009 all-star game

A RIDE WHICH SHALL CONTINUE

Over these past seasons, Brandon Roy has taken Blazer fans on an extraordinary ride, one like I've never seen in my lifetime in watching a whole lot of sports teams. Sure, there have been teams rebuild and contend where they haven't before.

What I'm saying is that I've never seen a team go from one of the worst records in its league, and from one of the lowest fan approvals in sports ... to a perennial playoff team and one of the fan bases that, if we weren't so accepting of each other, might just fight for tickets to see our team.

There have been many contributing reasons for that uprise, but there's only one prominent reason for it. Brandon Roy. I would challenge anyone to name another player who could have not only led the Blazers out of the dark era, but made most of us all but forget those days. When I look at all those in professional sports, I really can't come up with one who has and could do what Brandon Roy has done for the Blazers, their fans and the city of Portland.

The team which used used to be referred to as the Jail Blazers is now boasted as the team with the best fans in the NBA. I mean, we do have the best fans in the league; Charles Barkley said so. Brandon Roy did that. No question. 

What I find ironic is that he probably didn't realize the effect he was having when it was happening. I see him as just being that type of player -- and man -- that he is.

Not only has Brandon had that effect on pretty much everyone in the Blazer Nation, his example will not soon be forgotten or adhered to. His legacy will continue. Just look at the current group of players. There's not a single one of them you can't smile when discussing. Perhaps more than any other NBA city, that is important to fans. We wish to be represented well.

If that trend is to continue, it will be because incoming players understand that, and understand the example Brandon has set for the players of this franchise.

THE FAMILY MAN

It's been known, and repeated much of late, that Brandon's commitment to his family is paramount in his life. I thought I would share this excerpt from Wikipedia which, among other things, I find quite creative and romantic:

"Roy's longtime girlfriend, Tania, delivered their first child, Brandon, Jr., whom they nicknamed B.J., on March 27, 2007, in Seattle.

About two months later, Roy took Tania out to look at rings 'just to get an idea of what she'd like.' On June 15, 2007, while both were at Roy's home in Renton, Washington, he sent Tania a text message instructing her to look in a drawer in his closet, telling her that she could have whatever she found. Tania discovered a ring that she had mentioned she liked, at which point, Roy entered the room with their son and said, 'B.J. wants to know if you will marry his daddy.' She immediately accepted. Roy said the entire proposal was 'free-styled.'"


Brandon walks with his daughter, Mariah, at their home. (courtesy oregonlive.com)

INTO THE FUTURE

I can't begin to imagine what is going through Brandon's mind and heart right now. I do know that basketball was a passion to him. Prior to joining the Blazers, he had stellar careers in high school and at the University of Washington.

I've seen players become emotional at the end of their careers, in press conferences and interviews, but that is usually after a very long career and when they're in their mid-to-late thirties. For Brandon's career to be over a decade earlier than that must be incomprehensible. 

After the news had sunk in, there was even a consensus among some fans that he would make a good coach, preferably for the Blazers. I'm sure Brandon isn't even thinking along those lines at this point, but I certainly agree that is basketball iq and intellect seems geared toward that kind of career. Blazers president Larry Miller even indicated his hope that Brandon would have a role with the team going forward. I, for one, hope that when Brandon is ready to move on, he gives that some strong consideration.

WHAT ABOUT NOW?

While that question maybe isn't at the forefront of our minds as we reflect on Brandon's career, we need to move forward as a team. Coming into training camp, the Blazers were already heavy at the guard positions

This doesn't really affect the point guard position (at least, I wouldn't think so) Raymond Felton will be the starter there with Nolan Smith and Armon Johnson battling for backup minutes.

Wesley Matthews, who started the majority of games last season at sg, should remain the starter. He most likely will be backed up by a committee of Elliot Williams and Nicolas Batum. Nolan and Armon are capable of playing the sg position in stretches, and Coach McMillan indicated that Luke Babbitt may even see some minutes there.

The point being: It's not panic time, the Blazers have guys who can play the guard positions. As it must, the team will move on.

PERSONALLY

For all the reasons I've mentioned -- and many more -- I have the utmost respect for Brandon and what he's done for the city of Portland. One might say he put us back on the map. That kind of thing will not be forgotten.

Thanks in large part to my dad, I became a Blazers fan when I was around two years old. It was fun following the players until we hit that dark era. I loathed it when others criticized the character of some of the Blazer players. I can't say some of it wasn't accurate -- nevertheless, it was bothersome.

Now, I take great pride in my home-town team. Brandon was a huge part of that and I thank him for it.

~ KMM

In Kassandra's Words features regular blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end, but our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass
        

22 Comments

  1. kassandra this by far your best blog...all your blogs are great. You captured exactly how most of us feel about Brandon. He did bring back this city and the team. He added class and leadership...I loved the pics you posted. My fave pic was in the family section of him walking with his daughter mariah. I did not know about the proposal story that was great...that sounds like brandon. I do hope he will be with the blazers coaching our guards with his knowledge he has once things settle down for him. I know he will be ok but he will be missed for sure. I know that we were blessed to see him go out playing so well and will have great memories of that versus him going out playing horribly or getting physically hurt beyond repair and being carried out on a stretcher. That is what a person should do is go out on a high note and that is what he did...I did not catch him at the beginning. I only caught him during that first playoff run with houston and then the following season before he got hurt against a laker..ty for writing this as you put in words that most of us feel about Brandon...

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 12/11/2011 5:02 PM
  2. Kassandra:
    Make me cry;

    wonderful words coming from a sweet woman.
    I had forgot the way BRoy proposed to his wife, that was definitely something.
    I am not sad for BRoy for I feel he has a great life and a great future. Although it is bad to lose your profession so early in life, I have found when one door closes another one opens, if he is looking or being optimistic.

    Thank you for your blog, I will now go and blow my nose. Thanks kid

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/11/2011 5:59 PM
  3. Brandon Roy re-built Our House and set the level for all current and future TrailBlazers to achieve on and off the court. I think this year, instead of yelling "Our House" at the introductions, everyone should yell "Roy's House" in tribute and appreciation for what he has given us.

    by JeffnOregon on 12/11/2011 6:53 PM
  4. By the way, thank you for writing such an in depth reminder of how much Brandon had done for this team, city, and league in such a short time. I wish him the best in his promising future.

    by JeffnOregon on 12/11/2011 6:55 PM
  5. Good Stuff Kasey! Brandon made his mark in professional basketball, I'm happy that he had a Doctor that was honest with him (and that he listened to the advice). His impact in the Dallas series last spring is a pretty great way to go out (even though at the time nobody thought it would be his last series)

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 12/11/2011 6:58 PM
  6. Excellent Blog Kassandra

    Great recap of a carrier that will no doubt have many more chapters. I've been a fan through the good the bad and the ugly, and Brandon really did change things for us die hards. Very hard to pick a single Roy play or moment for me. There were just so many, but one of my all time faves is the baseline inbound lob from Rudy for the one handed jam.

    I really hope the Blazers have a Brandon Roy night, so that all the fans can give him all the love he deserves.

    Your blogs never disapoint, I look forward to the next one when we get the season rolling. Rip City lives !!

    PS Never knew about the proposal ...Very cool.

    by Albert Hoy on 12/11/2011 7:19 PM
  7. Nice blog Kassandra, made me shred tears while I was reading it.

    by Keisha on 12/11/2011 7:40 PM
  8. Kassandra that blog was just simply amazingly written, usually blogs r transparent and yours defiantly wasn't. I agree with everything there you have written ad on sports things we don't always agree :P. but i am glad and thankful for you too take the time so we could all read that. Roy did a lot for the team and it's too bad. But he will defiantly will be ok and remembered on the court as someone who always played with heart and when you needed someone too step up or get things going he would for you.

    by Mctc22 on 12/11/2011 8:19 PM
  9. i finished saw two more cane and one word dont know what it means so wotn say its wrong just stepped back and said um adhered? its prolly right but never seen it b4 and the ending which has a subscription abotu you ur twitter has changed so mite need ot change that (not at all saying anythign bad about the article, its great, shoot how you dont have a job at pdx tb is beyond me lol no offense to the guys that write articles but you could give a few a run for there moeny lol (yes i have typos but im just a crappy typer lol) but great work didnt cry lol but saddened...

    by jamie (guy) on 12/11/2011 8:47 PM
  10. @jamie (guy) : We have been trying to get her to be sideline reporter, but she is just stuck on being an Attorney.

    by Hg on 12/11/2011 10:10 PM
  11. Well done Kassandra, as always! From the heart, nicely constructed and I think you've essentially expressed what most, if not all of us, are feeling at the moment. It was a great ride that he took us on and now it is up to the guys on the team who knew him, to carry on that mantle and take charge and carry this team forward. Not that they can replace him, because they can't, but they can take that same spirit as we move on from this era or period, to one that will hopefully bring more of the same and even better memories than we've had the last five years.

    It will be hard and may take some time, but we have a great foundation of guys that know what this team and franchise is about and will be about going forward, which as you said, Brandon was a big part of the last few years. my family and I too, suffered through those darker years, (my uncle gave up his court-side seats in that time, after many years of participating in sharing them with his work colleagues in a rotation) and thus we lost that part of the connection with the team, though we still watched on TV and went to the occasional game when we could.
    While this period is hard to swallow, I think and hope that once the season starts, we will see good things come....I do hope that B Roy will a part of that future, when and if he chooses to do so, in whatever manner he thinks would be suitable.

    Either way, I, along with the rest of you, wish him the very best in life - he has a great family is you pointed out and as I mentioned in the thread that was set up on the boards, he has so much to look forward to and I'm sure there are things in store for him that maybe he didn't expect, now that his path has taken a different, unexpected turn. Sometimes, we don't realize what something meant until we look back and see how things played out - that they played out that way for a reason. Don't mean to take away from the reality and sadness to these events by any means, but I have found this to be true in my life on more than one occasion.

    Anyways, again, super super lovely blog post. You are the Blogger of the year in my book! :-)

    by Anees on 12/11/2011 10:42 PM
  12. Wow Kass. THAT was an incredibly well thought out, heart wrenching, and uplifting piece of work. I'm always impressed with the amount of effort you put in and research you do when writing these pieces. And this? This is your best one yet.
    We ALL appreciate your candor, honesty and fresh ideas.
    Great work.

    by bigjeff911 on 12/12/2011 12:04 AM
  13. It is always a little bit sad to lose a great and very elegant player like Roy. Even for those living thousands of miles overseas. Hope the rest of his life will be glad and happy.

    Kassandra, your cat is almost as pretty as you´re.

    by sopadeajo on 12/13/2011 9:57 AM
  14. Is There not a way he could reconsider and play again?

    by sopadeajo on 12/13/2011 10:08 AM
  15. Well said. I couldn't have said it any better; he made me proud to be a Blazer fan again, especially since I lost interest in the franchise during that dark era.

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/14/2011 5:32 PM
  16. Incredible blog Kasey. After all I've learned about Brandon and the Blazers (mostly from you), I still learned more after reading that. I remember when you began telling me about the Blazers. Your eyes brightened up wide when you started telling me about Brandon Roy. I saw you had such a great pride in him and his impact on the team. It may have just been that which put me over the top in becoming a fan of the team. Simply put he is my favorite player and I love the fact you gave me his jersey as a present last year. I wish we could have seen him play more last season, but I'm glad I got to see him as much as I did. He's a very special player and I can really tell now how much he has done for the team and its fans. That fourth quarter against Dallas was something very special to watch. I don't think I'll ever see anything else like it in my lifetime either. Thanks for writing this. I cried too while reading it.

    by julianne on 12/19/2011 2:38 PM
  17. Julianne: Do cry when the Star spangled banner is played at games? I sure do.

    Did you read the piece by Brandon, that it felt like he was touched doing the 4th quarter of that game. And it was the last BB performance we will ever get to see him play. That gives me goose bumps.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/19/2011 3:14 PM
  18. Hg: I only cry when it's done well. I do get teary eyed at moments during it.

    Brandon wrote a piece about the Dallas game? I don't remember seeing or hearing about it. I'd love to read it.

    by julianne on 12/19/2011 3:26 PM
  19. julianne: I wasn't sure how to hyperlink so I copied and pasted from OR Live' Jasan Quick

    Brandon Roy says he knew it was just a matter of time: 'I have to think about my family'

    Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 10:25 PM Updated: Friday, December 16, 2011, 4:18 PM

    By Jason Quick, The Oregonian
    Follow full sizeBruce Ely/The Oregonian Brandon Roy plays with his children Brandon Jr. and Mariah at his home on the day he was forced to retire from the Blazers.
    At first, he felt the knees. Then, Brandon Roy heard them.

    It was last week, days before training camp was to start for the Portland Trail Blazers, and Roy was intensifying his efforts to come back from yet another round of knee surgeries the season before.

    His workouts, casual and playful during the lockout, became serious and strenuous, just like they always did as he prepared for a season during his storied career.

    He was determined to make a comeback. To prove people wrong. To prove that the people who were standing by him were right.

    But something wasn't right. And he knew it.

    "The more I would try to prepare to have this big comeback year, the worse my knees would continue to feel," Roy said Thursday in his first public comments since July. "As we approached training camp, there was clicking in there, there was something in there really bothering me, and I was starting to feel like I would have to have another (surgery) just to help me get by day-to-day."

    Days earlier he had met with the Trail Blazers' brass: president Larry Miller, interim general manager Chad Buchanan and head coach Nate McMillan. And later he would talk with owner Paul Allen. They all made his heart swell with unyielding support.

    But deep down, he knew about his aches. And he knew about the clicks.

    "The Blazers were supporting me 110 percent, and it made me feel that if they could give me that much support, then I had to be 100 percent honest about how I was feeling," Roy said. "I felt I owed it to the organization to be as honest as possible."

    He scheduled an appointment with team orthopedist Don Roberts, who over the years Roy said had become more than just a doctor, but also a friend.

    "I didn't tell anyone else," Roy said. "I wanted to ask questions; I wanted to get answers. And he gave me answers about what he truly felt -- not as the Trail Blazers' doctor, but as a friend of mine who knows my knees more than anybody."

    The answer would alter the course of Trail Blazers history.

    "I don't want to put words in his mouth, but he told me I was finished playing basketball," Roy said.

    That night, Roy called the Blazers and told them his career was over. He would seek medical retirement because of a career-ending injury.

    A dream dashed

    It had been one week since Brandon Roy heard those words, and yet, he still hadn't repeated them until Thursday.

    "When I say it, career-ending ... it's hard," Roy said, his voice cracking. "Ever since middle school ... you want to be the best player, and to know that dream of aiming to be the best is over, it's tough. Very tough."

    The Blazers on Thursday waived Roy, using the NBA's newly instituted amnesty clause, which allows teams to wipe a contract off the books. Roy will be paid the remaining $63 million left on his contract, but none of it will count against the Blazers' salary cap. As a result, the Blazers were eligible for more free agent money, which they used Thursday to sign high-scoring Jamal Crawford, one of Roy's closest friends.

    He says he is at peace with the Blazers' decision, and pleased that the move enabled them to sign a quality player like Crawford.

    "I've been drooling to play with Jamal; the timing just wasn't right," Roy said. "But Portland will love him."

    Roy said he would never play again. Not this year. Not next year. Not five years down the road. In the background, his 4-year-old son Brandon Jr. and 2-year old daughter Mariah are audible, and he adjusts the phone to tend to them.

    "As much as I want to prove right that one guy who says I still have something in the tank, I have to think about my family and what the doctor is telling me," Roy said.

    Hard to say goodbye

    He admits it hasn't really hit him yet. He has internalized many of his feelings, and the subject has become somewhat taboo around his family.

    "We try not to talk about it, and change the subject," Roy said.

    But truth be told, he always knew it would come to this. He just didn't think it would come so soon.

    His knees have bothered him since high school, when he had the first of his six knee surgeries that eventually left him without the meniscus in either knee, causing bone-on-bone friction when he jumped and cut.

    Swollen knees became as common as blisters, but he was always able to play through it, sometimes heroically, like Game 4 of the 2010 playoffs against Phoenix, when he returned eight days after knee surgery to play and help the Blazers to victory.

    "Even when I felt like my knees were giving me problems, I remember telling my dad that I have to play in every game because I don't know how many I will get to play," Roy said. "There were times my knees were swelling up so bad I didn't know how long they were going to hold up. So I felt I had to go for it, now."

    In a meeting yesterday with Allen, the Blazers owner made Roy a standing offer to return to the organization in some capacity. Roy said he appreciates the gesture, but right now, the hurt is too sharp, the pangs too deep.

    At 27, Roy says the only thing on his agenda is to return to the University of Washington, where he is three quarters shy of completing his degree in American ethnic studies. He said he also wants to take some communications courses.

    "Getting my degree, that's as much of a goal for me as winning an NBA championship," Roy said. "I think getting that will help cure some of the pain, because coming out of high school, I didn't think I would be able to even go to college."

    Career full of memories

    He carries the pain of leaving the NBA at such an early age, but he will also carry memories that will never fade. His fondest, he says are getting drafted in 2006, and getting his first start in the preseason against Ray Allen. Also, his first NBA game, which happened to be in his hometown of Seattle. Then, there was the first of his three All-Star selections.

    "I ran around the house for 10 minutes yelling, 'I made the All-Star team! I made the All-Star team!" Roy said, chuckling.

    He remembers scoring a Rose Garden-record 52 points against Phoenix in December 2008 and returning home to find 52 snowballs placed on his steps. He remembers his wife, Tiana, being brought to tears seeing the gate outside his home littered with notes and signs from supporting fans after Game 2 of last year's playoffs, when he made emotional comments about not playing. And there's the 41-point game on Christmas, the 42-point playoff game at Houston, the rainbow three-pointer with 0.8 seconds to beat Houston in a game televised on TNT ...

    "I don't know what other people were expecting, but for me, I remember so many times going home after a game and laying in bed going 'Wow! This is crazy,'" Roy said. "Every time it was new. I was on cloud nine."

    One day

    But his biggest memory, he admits, is Game 4 against Dallas last April, when he scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Blazers back from 23 points. He said he felt like a hand came down and touched him that day. Never before has he felt like that on a court, so much so that he says he got chills during the game.

    One day, he says he wants to relive those memories. One day, he wants to come back to the Rose Garden, when it's completely empty, just him and the rim. He wants to soak it in, he says, and remember that shot from here, and that move he made there. One day, he wants to remember.

    "I think Paul (Allen) would let me do it," Roy said.

    But that day is not today. And it won't be any time soon. Roy admits that he has not yet come to grips with his departure from the game. And he doesn't know how he can ever replace that special relationship he had with the Portland fans.

    So he can not yet come back, because he has not yet allowed himself to go.

    "You can walk away from someone who doesn't love you. And you can walk away from someone you don't love. But when the love is mutual," Roy said. "The hardest thing is to walk away."

    by Hg on 12/19/2011 4:13 PM
  20. omg Hg! that's kind of funny you posted the whole thing. good article (especially given that it was written by Quick). i should return comment to some of these comments, i think!

    by Kassandra on 12/20/2011 10:47 AM
  21. TG: i knew Mike Barrett and others would be writing, so i kind of resisted at first. then that saturday night came and i couldn't not write. i really think Brandon has had a longstanding impact. whenever we as fans look upon the type of guys we want on the team, all we have to do is look at back at Brandon and see what's truly important. i'm glad you liked this particular blog. my best? i'll accept that. thanks!

    Hg: i shed many tears while writing this. i think this is the right decision for Brandon and his family. basically, it just sucks that it turned out this way for him. i suppose it's selfish, but i feel bad that i'm never going to be able to see him do these things again on the court. i believe after he reflects and truly comes to grips with this, we'll see him on the coaching staff. and yes, attorney it is. this is more of a hobby to me than something i would like to turn into a career.

    JeffnOregon: i have no problem referring to the RG as the house that Roy built, or Roy's house. i just wonder what would have happened had we not picked up Brandon -- and LaMarcus in that draft. i mean, who would have become the face of our turnaround; Randy Foye?

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/20/2011 3:34 PM
  22. BlockParty: i think Brandon is very fortunate to have a doctor who is was and is adament about the reality of the situaiton. like i told Hg, it sucks, but it's the right decision. i think give Brandon a season away from basketball and let him look at his options next summer.

    Albert: exactly, Brandon has many chapters left in his story. as i think about that, i think it's guys like him who end up with stellar careers after leaving the game. i'm confident Brandon will be amongst them.

    Kiki: i think a lot of tears were shed over that weekend. i know i still get teary eyed when i read something or watch his highlights.

    Mctc22: i know we don't always see eye to eye on sports, but i don't know anyone who can disagree with the impact Brandon had on the Blazers. i eventually felt like i had to write this, almost my way of thanking him.

    Anees: as Brandon has chapters ahead of him, so do the blazers. what a great core of players the team has. i'm really excited to see this team we've put together. gonna take some getting used to but, and i'm glad for this -- i'm glad no one is wearing #7 this year. that just wouldn't seem right.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/20/2011 3:55 PM
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