Former Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy joined Dave Mahler on Seattle's 950 KJR to discuss his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, his decision to pursue an NBA comeback and to reach an agreement with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and more.
Here's a link to the audio. It's an excellent interview. Definitely worth your time. Here's a partial transcript.
What have you been up to?
Nothing, man. I've just been spending time with the kids, keeping up with the NBA, spending time with friends, Will [Conroy] and Jamal [Crawford], watching Tony Wroten and the Huskies this year. Watching a lot of hoops but missing it also.
Why decide to retire in December 2011?
It seems so long ago because so much has happened since then. That process was a tough one for me. With the whole lockout, everyone knows how that was on the players and on the fans. When the lockout was finally lifted, I started working out and preparing myself a little more seriously for the season. i had some good conversations with coach Nate, Larry Miller and Chad Buchanan. I was just looking forward to the year. When I went down there to do my physical with the team doctor and the trainers, they thought it would be in my best interests to maybe stop playing basketball. They thought my knees weren't done at that moment but they thought they were progressively getting worse. It was something that really concerned me.
I ended up talking with my wife, talking with the team and we just tried to find out the best way going forward. It was a difficult situation. It's not easy to walk away from basketball at any age, but especially at 27. It was really hard for me. I worked with those doctors for years, I trusted their opinion. We thought it was the best thing to do.
That first month or two, I didn't really want to watch basketball. i didn't want to play, I was sitting at the house, trying to do alternative things. That bug keeps messing with you and I just started to slowly start playing basketball, playing with my cousins, my friends. The more I would play, the more I would think: I don't quite want to give this up yet. That's why I started the process of working out a little more seriously to see where I was at.
What's happened between December and today with your knees?
Before I get into the Regenicin [Spelling?] and plasma treatment, the number one thing that happened was rest. You can't look at the rest for eight months... I've really had over a year of resting. After the season ended, I didn't play much basketball. Coming back last year after having two knee surgeries, I was really discourage because I was trying to play. My will wanted me to be able to do more. It was just too hard after having two knee surgeries mid-season. The NBA is hard enough when you're healthy. Coming back after two knee surgeries and trying to play, I thought I got a little down on myself.
Resting after the season, getting my confidence back, I felt like my knees were getting better. Then sitting out a whole 66-game season, the number one thing was rest. I was getting back in the gym, two days in a row, three days in a row, next thing you know, I'm going two times a day and my knees aren't feeling worse.
Talking with my agent, he was like, 'let's do everything you can to make sure you're 100 percent sure that this is what you want to do.' I went down to L.A. and working with a doctor who works with a few players, I don't want to get into their names, but they all said it worked wonders for them. After the first day of doing it, I was laying in my hotel room and I said, 'Man, this can't feel this good. I can't possibly really feel this good.' I ended up finishing the treatment, which is five injections, and I just feel great.
Since then, I have been in the gym working, taking steps to build. I don't want to peak right now, I'm not in top shape right now, I want to build and get back into basketball mode. Ever since then I've been feeling great. You know me, I wouldn't be going back out there if I wasn't ready to play at a high level.
Regenicin [spelling?] -- plasma treatment injection?
Not to go into too much detail, I don't want to explain it like I'm a doctor, but it's something where they draw my blood, they spin it, they pull some different things out of it... they inject it right back into the joint. It was five shots. It was on each of my knees. Ever since then, it feels great. I was smiling going in there to get the next one and I don't really like getting shots. I was so excited about how I was feeling, it was like the first day of school for me.
Any idea on how much you plan to play?
Right now I'm preparing to play. If that's starter's minutes, that's great. Talking with Minnesota, we're not going to put any limitations on anything. We're going to go in there and just work and see how I feel. I'm envisioning coming back and playing. I haven't told myself it's not going to be this many minutes. I thought my last season with Portland, I was kept at a minute restriction. It really bothered me. I wanted to play more, I wanted to play more. They thought it was best that I didn't.
Right now... I told coach [Rick] Adelman I'm ready to go. It might be in the long-term best interest that I'm not a 38-minute guy but I'm looking forward to it. I think it's a great situation for me. You know me man, I'm going back out there to play. I wouldn't be coming back if I was going to be a 15, 20 minute guy. I would continue to sit out. I think my future is bright. I don't want to get into too much talking about it, I want to go out there and prove myself.
Ever consider a return to Portland?
With the amnesty rule I'm not allowed to go back to Portland until 2014-15. It was just never an option. If it was, of course I would be back in Portland... Going into the process, I knew right away I wouldn't be able to play back there.
This isn't about the money is it?
Not at all. I try to live humbly. I don't spend a lot of money. I've done a great job of saving so this was just strictly a matter of coming back and getting back into the flow of basketball. I love hoop. The first day I went back and started playing, it was me and a bunch of family. I came home with the biggest smile on the face. My wife was like, 'You really had a good time tonight, didn't you?' I was like, 'I had a blast.' Just playing the game. I love playing basketball. To be able to play basketball pain-free is an even greater joy. This is not a financial thing, it's just a love for the game.
Last time you played pain-free?
I would say before my junior year. I had a knee procedure in high school and it was just one. I bounced back from that fine. Before my junior year at Washington, we were doing some offseason workouts and I felt great. I was just in the best shape of my life. I was running and jumping, that was probably the most exciting time for me. I tore my meniscus my junior year on my right side, that's when playing with pain started creeping in. I knew that it was going to be something that was part of my game.
After I got those injections it was the first time I can bend my knees really good again. I couldn't remember the last time I was able to do that. I've been able to accomplish a lot, even with pain. That's what gives me more satisfaction, looking at things now. Being able to overcome so much, there's no reason why I don't think I'll be able to continue to do it.
Other teams interested in you?
The teams that were most serious about me and willing to step out on the ledge and take the risk, right after Minnesota was Golden State. My agent Bob Myers went to Golden State... He knows me personally. He knows when I say something that I'm really going to back that up. Golden State was right there. Dallas Mavericks, I met with their people, I talked with them. I really leaned hard and looked at them. They have a great medical staff. I met so many great people and teams through this process, Kevin Pritchard, GM in Portland when I was there, he was a guy who really believed in me. He's in Indiana now, I talked with him. I talked to the Chicago Bulls, I had a great talk with coach Thibodeau... At the end you can only pick one, and I thought Minnesota was the best fit for me going forward.
The number one reason, you look at the team, you look at Rubio and Love, big Pekovic, the number one reason, their owner and coach, their trainer, they flew out to meet with me. We sat and we talked for three and a half or four hours. Two hours we talked basketball. The other two we talked about family, relationships, just really getting to know one another. I felt comfortable.
After that meeting, I was thinking it was going to be hard to turn these guys down. They just believed in me. They really believed in me and had that confidence in saying that Brandon Roy can come back and still be a good player in this league. I'm the type of guy where you can get more out of me if you have that confidence that I can go out and really play well. They had it, from Day One. They've been all over this, wanted to get it done.
Will you start?
I didn't make any demands or ask a question about starting. Not to sound like I know I'm going to start, but I feel like when I go in and it's time to work, I just always feel it's going to be hard to keep me out of the starting lineup. That's just my mentality as a player and how I feel right now. I didn't ask any questions about if I would start or I'm demanding I would start. It didn't even go that far. It was just what I hope to bring to this team and hopefully it's enough to get into that starting lineup and be able to play. And not just be in the starting lineup, maybe get a few plays called for me. [laughs] I just plan to work hard and put coach in a position where he has to play me.
Your comeback is bittersweet for Blazers fans
I think the first thing I would say is I absolutely loved the Portland Trail Blazers fans. I can't point out one moment that sticks out more than another because they all were great but I just keep remembering back to Game 4 last year. Everybody remembers the game but I remember the moments and the days leading up to that game. We flew back from Dallas and I was really down because we were down 0-2, I wasn't playing and I made some comments. The fact that maybe the fans may turn and say 'Brandon's selfish.' Everybody supported me. I was getting letters on my gate from fans, saying, 'Brandon, we love you, stick with it, have confidence.'
It was amazing for me to have that feeling. That was the last chapter of them always supporting me. They expected more out of me than I expected of myself. I love the Blazers fans. I can't say it enough. They did so much, not only for me, but for my family, making me feel comfortable there. Nobody will ever replace the moments we were able to have together. They will always have that special place in my heart.
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