Friday, December 9, 2011

RIP Roy in Rip City

On everyone's mind and in everyone's hearts, the once and future king of the franchise is now retired. Courtesy of the new bargaining agreement, he can take his family on vacation in the Bahamas where his bone-on-bone joints can get some much needed relaxation. He can lay out in the sunshine, something he hasn't seen since probably before UW, stretching that back out, trying to recover from all those times he put the team on it.

Not so distant is the past when he laced up his sneaks six weeks after knee surgery and inspired a comeback win in the playoffs. And then the next game resurrecting a team from a 25-point deficit, and winning the fourth quarter by 20 points, 4-point play included. Everyone forgets that this early return may have been the reason his knees were beyond repair. Self-sacrifice for the playoffs. Heart.

Even without knees the man was magic. The Roy Wonder. Against Dallas the Blazers played arguably the worst game of recent memory. As a lifelong fan, I could only sit back shake my head when I saw Shawn Marion making jumpshots and my Blazers missing more shots than Michael J. Fox playing duckhunt. They went 10:28 in the third -- missing 15 straight -- before scoring their first field goal, and dug a hole of 25 points. With 35 seconds left in the third, The Natural threw an alley to LA's oop, then shot a three ball that bounced like Plinko before dropping with 1.9 left. It didn't want to go in, sat on the edge for an eternity before deciding that the sold-out crowd deserved just a little bit of anything.

Inspiration, kids. It's been said that for 36 minutes, Blazers fans were subjected to the worst basketball, professional or otherwise, and then blessed with 12 minutes of absolute sensation. I watched the entire game, seeping pride onto the carpet like the piss spreading on my jeans.

18 points in a quarter that needed a +18 spread to TIE, the man put the Blazers in his backpack and climbed Everest on nothing but bone and heart. And one four point play. He had 24 to lead all scorers, and played defense on Jason Terry's final three-point attempt, which would've won the game. I believe Kanye said it best when he rapped "That sh-t's ridiculous"

There were only 22 Blazers possessions in this span. Roy produced a basket, either by score or assist, on 14 of them, and was responsible for just two empty trips. On Saturday I tweeted Roy's player efficiency rating for the final 12:45...His mark for that stretch was an incomprehensible 89.68, or roughly triple what a typical MVP winner might post...In a nutshell, then, this wasn't just the best quarter of Roy's career; this was the best quarter of just about anybody's career. J. Hollinger

And now, sneakers hung up, jersey somewhere safe until it's very own retirement day, Brandon Roy can sink into his sofa and join the rest of us Blazer fans, rooting on his former team without having to will himself a victory. He can follow along with M&M or Wheeler, choke on a pretzel when Batum nails a three, or crap himself when Eliot Williams decides a regular layup just won't do it.

To you Mr. Roy, we say that, though this is a farewell, it is not a goodbye. The court may no longer be blessed with the squeaks of your sneaks, but, for the short time it was, we thank you. Always and forever, good sir, you shall be in our pinwheeled hearts. And, for one final time, B-Roy: you da MAN!

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