It was a weekend of goodness. Furious finishes, filthy performances and sensational superstars. The opening round of the NBA playoffs has featured the best in the game doing exactly what they do best — let’s just forget about the Knicks and that oft-frustrating Atlanta/Orlando series for the time being, okay? — and it has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Watching Brandon Roy lead his team to victory against the Dallas Mavericks in front of a packed Rose Garden crowd was poetic justice by way of poetry in motion. As Roy drove to the hoop and drilled jumper after jumper, everyone could see why he believed he was still the same player he’d been before knife met knee. That player — Roy the All-Star — is still there, but after a season of strife, is often hidden.

On Saturday afternoon, Roy the All-Star found a way to show the basketball world that he is still kicking. Dropping 18 points in the fourth quarter and leading his team back from 23 down, Roy reminded everyone that his story is not over by writing one of the most beautiful narratives I’ve ever seen.

After finishing off the Mavericks and tying the series at 2-2, Roy found himself feeling a familiar emotion as the final buzzer sounded. There were tears ready to fall, only this time they were joyous ones and this time, he wasn’t alone. Basketball fans all over were captivated by the moment, the story, the magic that they had just witnessed.

From being written off as a has-been to being chastised for believing he could do more, in a span of days Roy answered all of his critics, but far more importantly than that, he wiped away any doubt that may have been lingering in his own mind. Injuries are a funny thing. They often stay with the athlete long after the body heals. They cause pain and confusion and can cause people to look at you differently, to question your mental toughness or ability to properly assess your own ability post-return.

While that moment was about Roy and the shine was deservedly and undeniably on him, it’s important to look at the love and support he received from his teammates. When Roy spoke out of turn resulting in people saying he had put himself before the team, it was something that happened out of frustration and pain. It wasn’t an intentionally selfish act. Roy’s teammates knew this, even if the people on the outside didn’t.

As Roy went “Brandon Roy” on the court, Andre Miller went into cheerleader mode on the sideline. Nate McMillan wore a look of pride near center court and his teammates looked toward him, completely confident in him and his game. As the buzzer sounded and tears threatened to spill, the entire Blazers squad flew onto the floor to embrace their teammate, captain and superstar and to celebrate his moment with him.

If ever we needed a reminder that it’s often the intention that matters more than the misstep, we can look at these Blazers understanding Roy’s pain when he spoke out to media members in Dallas. Understanding it wasn’t an act of selfishness, but one of soul-searching.

During a postgame interview that was hard to hear because of a raucously screaming Rose Garden crowd, an emotional Roy said there were times during the season where he didn’t know if he’d ever play basketball again. Imagine the weight he had silently been carrying on his shoulders. Imagine the relief as that weight lessened with each point scored in that glorious fourth quarter. Enjoy the smiles and celebration of the Blazers because that was a moment that will go down in NBA playoff history.

It’s also the moment where Brandon Roy reminded us all of exactly who he is. Brandon Roy is a warrior.

Comments (11)

  1. I think Gerald Wallace said it best:
    “When people ask me what did I do in the 4th quarter,” Gerald Wallace told Annie Peterson of the Associated Press. “I’ll tell them ‘I stood in the corner and watched The Brandon Roy Show.’”

  2. Basketball has taken a back seat to story lines in the NBA.

  3. gotta love b-roy, clucthest player in the game besides kobe

  4. Phenomenal basketball creates the storylines. When have there ever not been storylines? Remember Magic vs Bird? Adam, are you a person who prefers NCAA ball, where the storyline of the underdog drives nearly every tournament? I would love to hear your thoughts.

  5. There have always been storylines. It’s just that they were a byproduct of basketball. If Roy doesn’t make his me-first crying comments after game 2, this story doesn’t get written. It’s just a one-good-game anomaly. But he did, and now the league has a vested interest in promoting his team. It’s a better story.

  6. I disagree that the comments are what fueled the story. It was that a once great player regained that magic for a short period of time. People always root for that regardless of comments.

    Look at Twitter last night during the time Arenas was bringing the Magic back into that game. People were going nuts, wanting that to happen. And Arenas kept his mouth shut when he was DNP-CD in game 3.

    Yet, you can guarantee if the ball went into Gil instead of Hedo and he hit a game tying three and a few shots in OT to get the Magic the win we’d be seeing similar stories about Gil today.

  7. Oh so wrong, Adam. That story would still have been written. Anyone who has followed Roy and his team this year would still have been misty-eyed. Overcoming adversity is an absolutely core theme in basketball, as in life.

    Another great piece Holly!

  8. Sorry, I just find it hard to believe that without the bitching comments that this would be the story everyone thinks it is. And to say that “anyone who has followed Roy and his team would have been misty-eyed” is just inaccurate. The story was well-documented, it’s not a little Portland secret. Superstar gets old/hurt, superstar bitches about it/his teammates. Riveting. I just hope that when my team really needs a win, one of its players will decide to give himself a media-friendly story line at the right time. Maybe then he’ll get “fouled” on a 4th Q 3 pointer and have some instant replay calls inexplicably go the wrong way.

  9. sounds like somebody is a bitter Mavs fan.

  10. @adam – you obviously are a dallas fan and for that alone you have no idea what a redemption story this is…..your mavs are used to choking away everything!

    seriously man – support a team that has heart!

  11. This is a story regardless. That was one of the best quarters of basketball I’ve ever seen played (granted I’m too young to remember many greats in their primes).

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