Brandon Roy: The Career That Never Was

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 with No comments
Written By Clevis Murray

Brandon Roy was one of the best young Shooting Guards in the NBA and was thought of to give Kobe Bryant a run for his money as the best in the West with his sky high potential but Roy would never live up to those expectations due to injuries which derailed his career which lasted seven seasons.

Roy was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and started to take the game of basketball more serious when he started playing in AAU tournaments. Roy attended Garfield High School and was thought of by many to be the best basketball player in Seattle and at that time Roy considered entering the 2002 NBA Draft. Roy would eventually withdraw his name from the player pool which he explained by stating the following that he "wasn't prepared mentally or physically to play in the NBA, so I decided to pull my name out and go to college" Roy eventually decide to attend the University of Washington and team up with another Seattle native in Nate Robinson.  Before becoming the first person in his family to attend a four-year college, Roy struggled taking the SAT and needed to take it four times before he eventually met the NCAA requirements.

He would go on to attend Washington for four years but did consider entering the 2005 draft but seeing Nate Robinson leave and recent UW signee Martell Webster un-commit to the University helped change his mind as he knew that being "The Guy" on the team would improve his draft stock which it did. Each season Roy increased his stats and certainly increased his standing among others. Roy would go and lead the Huskies to back-to-back sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Individually the guard was tremendous especially during his senior season when he averaged 20.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists and would be named Pac-10 player of the year, honored as an All-American and a finalist for the Wooden, Naismith, Oscar Robertson, and Adolph Rupp awards. On January 22, 2009 the Huskies would retire Roy's #3 jersey.

Brandon was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the sixth pick in the 2006 NBA Draft but was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Randy Foye. Interestingly enough, he had pre-draft workouts with both teams. Fast forward to opening night and Roy made his pro debut against his hometown Seattle SuperSonics and finished the game with 20 points. Early into his rookie year he would miss over 20 games due to impingement in his left heel but would comeback and become the fourth Blazer to be selected to the Rookie-Sophomore game which made him the first Blazer at All-Star weekend since Rasheed Wallace in 2001 as an All-Star reserve. Roy would eventually win Rookie of the Year earning 127 out of 128 votes and playing 57 games which is the second least amount for a recipient of the award. 

The 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons were the healthiest seasons for Roy in which he was named an All-Star both seasons but did have ankle injuries in both years which didn't effect his play too much but Roy would have have a a piece of cartilage removed from his left knee in 2008 which was causing irritation. That surgery was a preview as to what Roy's career would become. That season though he had a game with 52 points and another game with 10 steals and was named to the All-NBA Second Team becoming the 1st Blazer since 91-92 to receive that honor. 

As the 2009-2010 season started it would become the beginning of the end for the career of Brandon Roy, he started the season by signing a 5-Year extension with the Blazers. Brandon was selected to the All-Star game but couldn't play due to a hamstring injury and the injuries would start piling on as he also suffered a partially torn Meniscus which should've kept him out for the entire first round against the Phoenix Suns but he would return to action eight days later and in sports returning early from a injury is never the right thing to do but in Roy's case it seemed fine since no damage was done.... At the moment. 

The 2010-2011 season started and Roy would miss a few games of the early season due to soreness in his knee because of the lack of cartilage in both of them. On January 17, 2011, Roy would undergo yet another knee surgery this time it was arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees, when he came back he was a bench player and it was evident that he wouldn't be able to return to the All-Star level he once enjoyed. As the 2011 NBA Playoffs began Roy was still a bench player and his team had a first round date with the eventual NBA champions in the Dallas Mavericks. Roy struggled the first two games of the series but picked up his play when the series shifted to Portland but Game 4 he showed why he was a All-Star in past years and that performance would be the last great one for his career.

In Game 4 the Blazers trailed by as many as 23 points but Brandon Roy would shine last one time by scoring 18 points in the 4th quarter along with four assists and was responsible for 33 of the team's final 43 points which included a 4-point play and a clutch bank shot. Roy would go on to comment on his big night by saying "I've been in some pretty good zones before, but nothing like tonight." Roy couldn't believe what he had single handily done and in disbelief he said 

"It still just doesn't feel real yet, It was just an unbelievable game and comeback. With everything I've been through this season, they just all came into that moment there on the court when guys were grabbing and cheering me on. It was real special." 

That performance by Brandon Roy is the reason why we love sports because a young mature man like him who has been through so much in a short period of time had an out of body experience an dominated the game. That game would hopefully be the turning point for his career in which many thought and hoped.

After the 2011 NBA lockout ended Brandon Roy would surprisingly announce his retirement from Basketball due his knees degenerating so much that he had a lack of cartilage between his bones and knees. Due to his announcement the Blazers would amnesty him. In his retirement speech he said 

"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, This has just been a tough year, my most difficult as a Blazer, I tried to make the most of things. I can definitely say I honestly tried. I've given this team my best." 

Marcus Camby would comment on Roy's retirement and wanted his jersey to be retired "His number belongs up there." Former Team President Larry Miller had some encouraging words for Roy

"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."

The basketball loving guard's retirement from the NBA would only last for one season and after undergoing the same knee procedure Kobe Bryant underwent called platelet-rich plasma, Roy thought his knees would be healthy enough for a comeback. He would go on to sign a 2-year deal with the team that drafted him back in '06, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sadly his comeback would only last five games before he needed season-ending surgery on his right knee and was waived by Minnesota on May 10, 2013. Roy would go on to say "Any time you walk away from the game, you have what ifs. I feel like I was able to answer those questions last year by going out there and giving it a try." Roy knew his career was coming to a end and had no problem with it "My basketball days are numbered, that’s no secret, If I never play another game, I’ll still be completely happy with my career." For every Paul George whose career continues to rise by the day, there are the sad endings to the careers of the Brandon Roy's. 

After retiring from the NBA Brandon Roy has been living his life with family and friends but has commented on why college is important for young Ballers 

"College helps develop guys, both mentally and physically. There are kids who are physically ready, but they're not mentally ready or mature enough to deal with the NBA. And I think it's good for kids to look to go to college because it can help them in the long run. Instead of rushing to the NBA, take your time and prepare yourself for your future, which goes well beyond basketball."

The modern day Brandon Roy could be Chicago Bulls Point Guard Derrick Rose. Rose doesn't get in any trouble off the court and is very soft spoken and quiet but is going through something similar like Roy with various injuries including his hamstring, Torn ACL in 2012 and a Torn Meniscus in 2013.   With that being said, Brandon Roy could've been a very great NBA player but his was derailed, not by drugs, alcohol, or lack of work ethic nor attitude.  Sadly, his career ended due to debilitating injuries. Brandon was loved by everyone and those who were a fan of him felt for him because he was really a great person who did nothing wrong but love the game and was different in a good way more so than anyone else. Someone like him didn't deserve to have the multitude of injuries that he did but everyone's path in life goes in different directions and whatever his is he will be impactful.

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