Brandon Roy’s basketball career is over far too soon. The former Husky great is going to announce his retirement from the NBA after doctors told him he could risk significant knee issues in his future if he continued to play.
Two sources with knowledge of Roy’s decision told The Oregonian Friday morning that Roy plans to retire because of degenerative knees, confirming a story first reported by ESPN.
Roy made this decision, one of the sources said, after meeting with doctors on Thursday. After evaluating Roy’s knees, which have been operated on six times and no longer have any cartilage, the doctor flatly told Roy he should no longer play.
“You can’t do this,” the doctor told Roy, according to one of the sources. “You might end up not walking.”
It’s a sad ending to an NBA career that burned white hot at the beginning and faded away because of knees that simply couldn’t keep up with intensity and passion with which Roy played.
Washington basketball went to a different level in terms of national relevance and reputation because of Brandon Roy.
Roy was a beloved player for Washington, not just for his exploits on the court, but for his unparalleled work ethic, his desire to succeed and his humility in all of the success that followed. While people rave about Roy the player, it was Roy the person that set himself apart from the fray.
My buddy Alex Akita – founding member of the Dawg Pack and creator of Seattle Sports Net – offers his thoughts.
He would go on to a finish a stellar four-year career at the University of Washington. He helped take the Huskies to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He was named the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year as a senior. He would be selected sixth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves — before immediately being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers — in the first round of the ’06 NBA Draft. He would become the 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year. He would be sent to three NBA All-Star Games. He was chosen Second Team All-NBA in 2009 and Third Team All-NBA in 2010. He played five NBA seasons. He was bestowed seven different awards in that span.
His No. 3 jersey was retired by the University of Washington on January 22, 2009, not three years after he had played his last game as a Husky. He was only the second player to have his jersey retired by the program, joining Bob Houbregs in receiving the honor.
He was arguably the greatest basketball player in UW history. He became a fan favorite in Portland, where he played the entirety of his pro career. He was respected by rival fans as often as he was hometown fans.
He may not receive another playing contract. He may not earn more endorsement deals, or be on television, or shoot baskets in front of tens of thousands of people any longer. But what he does have, one cannot put a price on.
As children, we view athletes as our heroes. Every kid who grows up watching sports has a hero. Rarely, however, do we enter adulthood and find heroes in our contemporaries. Brandon Roy was the rare exception. In college, he was our hero. He was our classmate, yet he was who we idolized. He was who we wanted to be, who we wanted to associate ourselves with, who represented our school and our team the way we all wanted to represent it. For those who call themselves Washington Huskies, Roy is more than just a fellow Dawg. He is a legend in every sense of the word.
Beyond the affiliation with his school, he is an ambassador for our municipality. He has something invaluable, something every public figure strives to attain. In no other city in the world will an athlete be revered and respected the way Brandon Roy is in Seattle. He will be talked about for years. Children who will never see him play a game will hear about him, will learn about him, and will understand that this was the player you measured yourself against if you called this area home.
Henry Abbott of True Hoop wrote this piece on Roy.
And it was Roy’s team. He was the best player and the vocal leader, oozing cool confidence. He was also the reason the Blazers had one of the most efficient offenses in the league. Roy would put the ball on the floor and — at his own chosen speed, and with endless herky jerky movements — either find a shot for himself at the rim, from the mid-range, or he’d draw a double-team and kick the ball to his endless array of sweet-shooting teammates splayed our along the perimeter. Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake were just some of the players who had career shooting years by firing it up after Roy kicked it out.
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus offered his thoughts.