What B-Roy meant to me
By PlatinumHead Posted in: Blazers, BrandonRoy, Bulls, Celtics, Heat, Pelicans, Kings, Knicks, LaMarcusAldridge, Magic, MarcusCamby, Rockets, Spurs, Suns
I live in Australia and have been an avid NBA fan since I was a kid. I was always just a fan though, picking and choosing teams depending on who my favourite player was at the time. I was a Magic fan because of Shaq, a Phoenix fan because of Sir Charles. I loved Scottie Pippen and how he seemed to be able to do anything, ditto Robert Horry (to a lesser extent). I loved Dikembe Mutombo because of his shot blocking (which was the favourite part of the game for me) and his was the first jersey I ever purchased. I loved watching Shawn Kemp and GP, I loved watching Tim Hardaway and Zo, There was something about the Ewing, Starks, Oakley, Derek Harper Knicks that I loathed. I loved watching Run TMC. I loved Hakeem, LJ/Grandmama, Muggsy, Spudd, 'Nique, JJJ, even Walt Williams long socks. I was hoping for a Celtics revival following the Walker/Pierce draft picks. I loved reading feature articles in One on One, an Australian basketball magazine - even those about Yinka Dare setting records for not getting assists. I loved everything NBA and considered myself a fan of the game and not of a particular team.
Then one day, my best friend and I decided we needed to pick teams to support through good and bad. I was in high school. Year 11 to be exact (4th of 5 years). The year was 2000 and my best mate Benji picked the New York Knicks with Ewing, Sprewell, Houston, LJ, Camby and Kurt Thomas. I decided to go with the Portland Trail Blazers with players I knew and believed in. Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, Brian Grant, Gary Grant, Antonio Harvey, Jermaine O'Neal, Scottie, Arvydas Sabonis, Detlef, Steve Smith, Stoudemire, Sheed and that exciting young kid named Bonzi.
I was liking our chances for the Western Conference even up against the likes of the Spurs, Sactown and LAL. I was sure I was onto a good thing. Being the rebellious teen I was, I was even cheering Sheed setting season records for ejections. 50 wins, another 50 wins, 49 wins and then slowly, slowly we started to drop off and the names weren't so recognisable anymore. Of course at my age, I was oblivious to the scandal that was attached to the "Jailblazers", or if I wasn't, I actually enjoyed that I supported the bad ass team of the league.
Not recognisable names, but there was hope in youth. Darius Miles, Qyntel Woods, Zach Randolph, Ruben Patterson, Travis Outlaw, Bonzi had gone to another level. We still had solid experienced players in Tracy Murray, Wes Person, Stoudemire, Theo, Shareef, Dale Davis. But it still got worse.
The league at that time seemed to be all about how guys looked, more than how they played. I remember being turned off because the league didn't seem as genuine anymore. It seemed more about AND1 type individualism than guys playing their hearts out for their team. I didn't follow the NBA as closely. I wouldn't even have been able to tell you in the immediate aftermath who was winning championships and who they defeated. Not an NBA fan as much anymore, but still proud enough to say the Blazers were my team.
There was one guy who brought me back to the NBA at this time. I just so happened to be at my mate's house one day during the All Star Weekend and we were watching the Rookies vs Sophomores game. It must've been 2008 because I remember seeing Sonics jerseys (because the friend who's house I was at was a Sonics supporter). I noticed two Blazers jerseys for the Sophomores and immediately was drawn to the number 7. I had no idea who he was or that he was Rookie of the Year the season before. I had no idea that we had 2 of the top 6 picks the season before and these two guys would be the foundation of our revival. I'd only heard murmurs of the Blazers picking up Oden instead of Durant with the number 1 pick that year (thanks to my Sonics supporter friend). All I remember at that time was that I was excited by the number 7 for my Blazers.
From that point on, my interest in the NBA was revived. Here was a star SG who was starting to challenge Kobe as the supreme SG in the West. Here was a guy that seemed incredibly humble and even tempered in all his interviews. This was a man that you could pin all your faith behind and proclaim as a future MVP. This was a man that championships are built upon.
2010 when he had knee surgery and came back after 8 days against Phoenix seemed to consolidate how superhuman he could be. It had me believing that he, and as such we as a team, could achieve anything. Again when everyone was saying "he'll never be the same", the 4th quarter against Dallas in game 4 - made you believe that if anyone could still be a player with those knees, B-Roy would be the man.
Unfortunately, sometimes fairytales don't have a happy ending. B-Roy is gone and, as one of those once in a generation superstars, will be near impossible to replace. Lucky for us Blazers fans, lucky for those NBA fans, he gave us so many good memories to look back upon. The kind of memories that we will be able to regale to our kids and grandkids (if you're not already). How often does a player single handedly turn around a 20 point margin and win a playoff game on his own back with no knee cartilage? As far as I'm aware, no one ever has before, and probably never will again.
Brandon Roy is already a Portland Trail Blazers legend. 5 seasons of B-Roy magic is more than most players can compile in an entire NBA career. I would be savagely disappointed if the number 7 wasn't hung to the rafters for B-Roy's service to the Portland franchise. If not for him, fans like me would still be by the wayside - looking at the NBA as a league for overpaid, spoilt, athletic kids (which, to a great degree, it still is... Melo, D12, CP3, Lebron).
Call me a fairweather fan, call me a casual fan, call me what you like. But simply because of B-Roy, my passion as a Trail Blazer fan is now stronger than ever, I rep Blazers everywhere I go. That is what B-Roy means to me.