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A fantastic translation of an incredible interview that Nicolas Batum gave about Brandon Roy to BasketUSA.com. The original was in French and was translated for your enjoyment by the numerically-named "#10."
Click through to get a look at the inner workings of the Blazers locker room and a great snapshot of Brandon Roy the person, player and teammate.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Two time All-Star, Portland guard Brandon Roy is now playing among the greats.
Nicolas Batum, sharing his daily routine, describes a player both introverted and generous. An ideal teammate for the French wing.
Brandon Roy, the basketball player.
Brandon has an extraordinary sense of composure. I want to call him "Iceman" because he always plays under control. He doesn't do or try anything without reason. He only has three years in the NBA behind him but he really is very mature. He's already been an All-Star twice, that's not bad... In Portland, Brandon has assumed leadership very naturally. He speaks when it is necessary. He does it during time outs, for example, after the coach has given his instructions. You sense that there is a real trust between Nate McMillan and him. The veterans of this team noticed that evolution with Brandon last season. He wasn't like that the year before. In fact, he's more confident in himself.
Everyone calls him "B-Roy." Even the coach! You always hear "Give the ball to B-Roy!" in moneytime or at an important moment in the game. I call him by his nickname, like the others. He addresses me by calling me "Nic" or "Frenchy." From the beginning, we have had a good feeling between us.
Last season, I was his rookie. It's better to be Brandon Roy's rookie than Joel Przybilla's rookie. He chose Jerryd Bayless and I can assure you that Jerryd went through hell... Joel didn't stop asking him for different things. For me, I only had to take Brandon's bag and bring it up to his room when we got to a hotel. That's all. I knocked on his door to make sure that everything was fine and he would answer: "OK, Nic, thanks. Goodnight." And then I could go. Bayless, however, had to go look for newspapers or different things for Przybilla. Rudy didn't do anything. At first, with Rudy, we were supposed to bring in breakfast for all the players. Brandon was the one who had established this rule with Travis. I worked out a little plan with Rudy: we never brought what they asked for... We took shelter behind the language barrier to justify the lack of understanding. After a week, Brandon told us: "OK, forget it guys..." (laughs). As a result, we were relaxed: no breakfast duty in Portland! Only Sergio Rodriguez was aware of our little game.
Brandon is in the middle of the locker room. He doesn't speak. He's incredibly focused, with big headphones over his ears playing music that's for the others as much as for him, given the volume... He's already in his game, very concentrated. I think that he's like all the stars in the league: he is very pro and wants to focus on the game well before the warmup. The journalists know that and avoid bothering him. They leave him alone. I think that he needs that to prepare, it's his method. Others prefer to talk to reporters or other players, not "B-Roy." Personally, I sit between Greg and LaMarcus. They adopt a different approach, talking a lot. The fact that Oden and Aldridge are so loud doesn't seem to bother Brandon. He's an introvert. He's not the one who will liven up the dressing room like Travis does. If it bothered him, I think that he would intervene. But that's not the case."
At practice, the rookies are often at work, in the weight room for example, when he arrives. We'd put on our music and worked. Brandon would immediately stop our mixes and put on his own... It's not an abuse of authority because that's not his style. He told us one day, laughing: "Rookies, you listen to what we give you..." He's into rap, so it doesn't bother me, even if R'n'B is more my thing. But it's good, I like his tastes. Though Rudy sure doesn't have the same opinion... You can't say that he's a big fan of rap. Roy knows it, so he plays even more rap. That's his little provocative side, with Travis and LaMarcus. They're like kids with their rap. As soon as one of them leaves, the other changes the CD and so on. But those are the sort of things that create a good atmosphere on a team. Brandon does it with a lot of tact and always while adding nice words. We don't even pay attention to it anymore.
You could say that Brandon took me under his wing, both on and off the court. One time, we went out together after a game. A guy started bothering me, Roy came and got rid of him real quick. Let's say that we get along well. When I wasn't playing well in mid-December, he came to reassure me. We were in Denver a few days before Christmas. He invited me to dinner, face to face, because he saw that I was getting tired. He gave me confidence explaining to me that he also struggled with the "rookie wall" at that point of the season. When your franchise player takes interest in you like that, it's reassuring and encouraging.
"Don't pay. A rookie doesn't have money." That's what Brandon kept telling me when we went out together. So he paid for things. He paid the bill at restaurants, gave me little presents from time to time... He doesn't go too far though, he's not the sort to splash out money. He's a simple guy and it's obvious. For example, he only has one car. All the veterans have two or three. I've already seen him come to practice on a bike... We live in Portland, a very green city. But seeing your franchise player arrive on a bike, in this environment, is pretty funny... With Brandon, I'm in good hands. It's in my best interests to listen and follow him: his personal career is a total success, from every point of view. I doubted my arrival in Portland after the end of the summer league... Today, it's the complete opposite, I'm really happy to be with the Trail Blazers. A big part of that is thanks to Roy that I'm living this adventure so fully.
It's starting to become Brandon's specialty. There was Houston, New York, Phoenix... He catches on fire in the last four minutes. Each time, you sense that he's taking over. It's impressive. He's relaxed. When he scored 52 points December 18th 2008 against Phoenix, it was crazy. It was his new NBA record. And it was live on TNT. When we went back to the dressing room, he didn't stop repeating: "I scored 52 points on TNT!" We sensed that he was happy for himself as well as the team. We won yet another big game. 50 points is a mythical mark in the NBA. All the big stars have reached it at least once. He immediately realized that. It was really funny to see him talking all alone... We sensed that he was really happy. I think that he was the third best guard in the league this year behind Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. You can't call him selfish though, he gives up the ball without a problem. OK, he is a little selfish, like all the stars, but he doesn't go overboard.
That was a bit new last season. As he was succeeding, he started to talk trash. In November, he wasn't like that on the court. Now, as soon as a player starts to make him sweat, he dishes it out. He doesn't hesitate to talk trash. It follows the evolution of his game: they go hand in hand. Brandon knows that he's playing better and better. He also knows that his opponent will play harder to stop him. So he tries to find something else to put a barrier between the others and him. He's becoming more and more vicious. Chalk it up to experience. Fouls come by more easily. It happens quickly when you have a status like he does... I saw this evolution in the space of several months because he's constantly making progress. He's really good at getting calls, something he didn't do in the same way at the start of the season. All the stars in the league know how to get calls. Some go too far. With Brandon, he hasn't yet but he knows that the whistle will be in his favor 95% of the time if he's up against a simple role player. That's also why the best players in the league have great games so often. If Brandon scores close to 23 points on average all while getting assists, there's a reason... The refs call the game differently because he is an All-Star.
The positive attitude
Brandon doesn't often criticize his teammates. He's constantly encouraging us. He is very positive in his manner of tackling things. When I was down, he found the right words so that I rebounded. It's especially on a psychological level that Brandon excelled. He took me aside, we talked just the two of us, he didn't do it in front of the whole team. I think it's good to do it like that. Put you in your place in front of the whole group, especially when you're a rookie, is hard. Roy doesn't make fun of you. Unlike Travis or LaMarcus, who don't hesitate to tease you. Only once I saw Brandon visibly shaken after a game. He wasn't negative, because he didn't talk, but he was desolate in his corner, close to crying. We had just gotten beat by at home at the buzzer by Orlando, on a three pointer from Turkoglu. He was mad at himself because just before, he had missed a free throw. He was yelling at himself, it was pretty impressive. I went to see him, adopting a positive attitude like he had the habit of doing. That's when I saw that he needed the support of others.
Brandon is very discrete. We know his wife and Brandon Jr., who is two. For the rest, not a word. We don't go have dinner at his place. I find it normal. We have lots of young single guys in the team and he's married pretty early. At 25 years old, he already has a full family life. I think that's also why he's already so mature. He doesn't have a "show off" side, no bling, like some. He keeps his head on his shoulders.
Brandon often wears red. I've deduced that it's his favorite color. Red jackets, red shirts, big red hoodies... You can't miss it! At the same time, it's also the color of the Trail Blazers. Maybe that explains it. I'm not going to hesitate to tell him about it because personally, I hate red clothes... (laughs).
Something annoying about him?
It's something related only to basketball... He penetrates, drives to his left and dunks with his left hand when he's right handed. Look at his game: 70% of the time, he drives to the left even though he shoots with his right hand. If he really wants to dunk it, he goes with his right hand, but on the fast-break, he drives to his left. We asked him why and he doesn't have an answer. He says that it's natural, that it's always been like that... At the same time, it's pretty disruptive for the opponent. It's one of those things that makes him so good.
I found it a bit odd that he was hurt when his daughter Maria was born... During that week, he didn't play! The doting father at home... I thought it was a funny coincidence. What's more, we had big games against Boston, New Orleans, the Lakers, and Detroit. The day his baby was born, we beat Boston at home. He prepared a party for us in the locker room to celebrate that arrival of Maria, it was really nice.
Brandon is always the last to show up when we meet. Along with Travis, you get the impression that it's a contest... We're meeting at 2:45? Brandon turns up at 3:00 without a problem. Always late. Yet another "star" thing...