To the joy of Portland Trail Blazers fans, former great Brandon Roy this week agreed to represent the franchise at Tuesday’s NBA Draft lottery.
The news comes 16 years after the former wing stood for the franchise the night they gained the number one pick that would become Greg Oden in 2007.
After years away from the franchise and the NBA, the three-time All Star spoke to The Athletic’s Jason Quick about reconnecting with the Blazers (subscription required).
The story traces Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin’s initial proposal to the two-time All NBA player who’s career was cut tragically short by injury.
“There’s never been a moment when I felt I couldn’t reach out to the Blazers and be a part of the organization. Never,’’ Roy told The Athletic. “I just wanted to stay away from basketball, or from even hearing my name. It was just hard not being able to play … and I was only 28, 29 years old. So, I just stayed away.’’
As Roy read Cronin’s text message that April day, he noticed something different than years past. He didn’t recoil at the notion of being involved. In fact, he was drawn to it, a change he attributes to time. He’s 38 now, with a collection of life experiences of a 90-year-old: He’s coached four high school state championship teams, he’s been shot, divorced, is the father of four kids — three with his ex-wife and one with his fiancée, and he’s finally comfortable with where he has been, and where he is headed. And now, more than ever, he can see that direction pointing back to Portland, a feeling that surprised him as he read Cronin’s text about the draft lottery that April morning.
“I’m reading it, and the first thing that came to mind was ‘Yeah. Sure, I would do that,’’’ Roy said. “But I was like, don’t say yes right away, let’s see if everything works out and I can get some time to go.’’
When they connected, Roy gave Cronin his answer: “I would love to be a part of it.’’
Roy also touched on returning to the team in a little more permanently, “in either a front office, ambassador or mentoring role.”
Roy was drafted sixth by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2006, traded to the Blazers on draft night before playing 321 games with Portland between 2006 and 2011. Roy was amnestied by the Blazers after injuries had caught up with him.
The injured guard did sign with the Timberwolves in 2012-13, however only played five games due to injury.
Roy holds career averages of 18.8 points on 34 percent three point shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.0 steal.
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