Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brandon Roy: A True Superstar

After being eight days removed from right knee surgery to repair a tear of the meniscus, and seeing his team lose Games 2 and 3 by a combined 50 points, Roy couldn't take it anymore. Originally, the prognosis on the surgery of a torn meniscus is about a 4-6 week recovery time, therefore, he was ruled out for the playoffs, but the number of incisions to the knee were less than usual, causing team officials to become optimistic of his return, should the team advance past the first round. Initially upon awaking from the operation, Roy said the knee felt great and didn't experience any swelling at all. Whispers of him returning for a possible Game 6 or 7 now started to linger through the media, but Game 4, just eight days after surgery? No way, no how, it wasn't happening. Roy was pushing to play in the team's home playoff games and initially accepted Coach McMillan's answer of no, but while watching the playoffs the Friday before Game 4, Roy got the playoff itch and wouldn't take no for answer this time. He pestered Coach McMillan via text message as well as Trainer Jay Jenson to let him play. No Trail Blazers' fan would have questioned Roy one bit if he decided not to play at all this post-season. The risks were high for the franchise player, especially after signing a maximum extension during the summer of 2009. This season has been difficult enough in terms of the injury bug, and the last thing we need is our leader to be out the start of the 2011 season. But Brandon is not your stereotypical athlete of the 21st century who carries a me-first persona, rather Roy, like all Trail Blazers, is humble and puts the team before himself. Only he knew how well his knee was progressing and although he's not physically 100%, if he could contribute, nothing was going to stop him from bringing home a Game 4 win for the team, city, and fan base. His performance wasn't pretty, even looking awkward at times, but it was more of his presence, than his 5 big points in the latter portion of the 4th quarter that propelled the Trail Blazers to a 96-87 win. No one felt Roy's presence on the court more than Aldridge, who was more than relieved to see the other half of the dynamic duo return. With Roy garnering all of Phoenix's attention, it was Aldridge who made them pay with a career playoff-high 31 points and 11 rebounds. 52 points on December 18th against the Suns, hitting the game winning three-pointer from 30 ft. with 0.8 seconds left to crush the Rockets, being named, for the third consecutive year All-Star and 2nd Team All-NBA, and countless other clutch game winning baskets were already part of Brandon Roy's legacy as a Portland Trail Blazer. He was already on the path to inevitably have his #7 jersey hanging from the rafters of the Rose Garden and be on the short list of candidates mentioned for greatest Trail Blazer of all-time, but what he did before Game 4 was something of legend. Being activated 15 minutes before tip-off, Roy's dressing for action created a buzz of its own throughout the arena and eventually spreading like wildfire out onto the streets leading to the Rose Garden. Then it happened, his face was shown on the big screen, back in the locker room with his teammates getting ready to run out onto the court and he didn't look like a decoy. The crowd erupted in amazement. A new hope was instilled. Portland could win this series with their hero back in action, and it wasn't only the fans who felt this way but his fellow Trail Blazers, who went on a 9-2 run while he was waiting at the scorer's table set to check in. The rest as they say, was history. Even if Portland doesn't go on to win the series against Phoenix, the team is still in good hands. The torch Clyde Drexler passed on as face of the franchise took longer than expected to get into the hands of someone worthy but better late than never. For the next four years guaranteed (player option for year #5), every person with ties to the organization can be proud to have Brandon Roy be synonymous of all things Trail blazers. Outsiders have even caught on too, as the list of most popular jersey sales was just released, placing Roy 13th on the list.

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