I mentioned this once a long time ago in depth and I've mentioned it in passing several times since, but every time we go through something like Brandon's outing Friday night where people around the 'net seem disappointed, I feel the need to express it again.
All-Star feats and league scoring titles and Rookie of the Year awards and the like are interesting, but how much difference do they make really? They're meant to be items of public interest and discussion, but even if you take them strictly in their own terms, how memorable are they? Let's say Brandon had come out and scored 20 in the Rookie/Sophomore game. There would have been quite the buzz over the weekend, but how long would it have lasted? My guess is maybe until Tuesday, when the real games start again. At that point Brandon is once again only as good as his last game and the All-Star performance would be remembered as an asterisk, if at all.
So why invest in something that's going to last less than a week? I want something that will NEVER be forgotten, that people will speak about for years upon years as long as there is basketball in this town. I want a championship...an N-B-A championship. Nothing else will be the same, and no other goal--no matter how prestigious it seems--is really worth it.
If Brandon had been the toast of the game there would have been a lot of nice comments at this site and in the various forums for a couple of days. All of the regular posters would have been pretty stoked and it would have gotten its own thread and some nice comments. But that's about it.
If we win it all you know what's going to happen? You're going to be on the edge of your seat the whole game, living and dying with every play. Somewhere around the middle of the fourth quarter it's going to enter your mind that maybe we have a chance to win this thing, but the rest of your mind is going to reject it because it's too awesome to dream it might really come true. Then when that final buzzer goes off and you realize that we've done it and you see all of our players piled on the floor all over each other and the crowd going crazy you're going to jump up off the couch and start yelling your head off. You're going to grab your spouse or significant other or whoever and whirl them around and plant a big kiss right on their lips. Then you're going to grab your children and do the same thing. Then to the dog. Then to the cat. Then to anything else you can reach. Then you're going to run outside to make sure the sky's still blue and the world hasn't ended and you're going to see your neighbors doing the same thing. You're going to hear car horns all around the city honking over and over again. You're going to see crowds of people gathering in the streets and kids on the playground running out to practice their jump shots and news channels everywhere cutting in live to cover all this. And the talk...it's not going to die down for days or even weeks. People are going to be waving and smiling and sporting Blazer apparel at work, on the bus, on the TV, at the victory parade. Every second conversation will be about the big win. Your relatives will call you. Your friends from across the country will call you. And every time you tell somebody you're from Portland they're going to say, "How about them Blazers? Not bad, eh? Bet you're pretty stoked!" There will be post after post after post, thread after thread, diaries left and right, all of them with 75 comments minimum. And you're going to remember all the days and years and games you spent following and sweating and worrying and agonizing over the team...all for this. And it's going to seem SO worth it, every bit of it. And you will never...EVER...forget it. Even if the title goes to someone else the next year and the year after and the year after that, it almost won't matter because you will be a champion. Your team will have won it all. And you were there and you saw it and nobody can ever take that away. The names of those players will be legendary and sacred to you, and you will tell your grandchildren about them someday. There won't EVER be enough next Tuesdays in the whole history of forever to make that moment grow dim.
THAT'S what we should be aiming for, at least as far as I see.
I know it seems near impossible to some because it's been so long since we've done it (more than some of your lifetimes) but you have to believe it IS possible, even for a team from Portland. And I feel like as he matures Brandon Roy is going to become that championship kind of player. I don't mean he'll be Michael Jordan! He won't ever be. But that's only one way to win a championship. The kind of unselfish, team-first, but still very talented and skilled type of game he has is another if you can get enough people on the team of that same caliber and mindset. And if that means those people don't shine all that brightly in All-Star games, so be it. Other folks can have all the All-Star MVP trophies they want. They'd trade all of them put together for even one shot at the real prize.
There ain't nothin' wrong with Brandon Roy. If anything's wrong it's the glitz-over-substance aura hanging over this league. But despite the aspirations of Sin City it ain't completely a Las Vegas league yet. There's still a Portland team in it and there are still Portland-type players in it, even if they're not widely recognized.
You've got to believe that someday, somehow they can triumph.