Brandon Roy returns, players react
It’s doubtful that the Rose Garden has ever gotten so loud during the second quarter all year. And there wasn’t even any basketball taking place.
Tuesday night, for the first time since announcing his retirement in December, three-time All-Star Brandon Roy walked back into the building he used to star in.
Joined by his wife, Tiana, Roy’s appearance was meant as a means to surprise his good friend Jamal Crawford, Portland’s backup shooting guard.
As he walked toward his courtside seat across from his the Blazers’ bench, the arena’s sound system blared the “Rocky” theme music, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation that lasted at least a minute.
He then seemed to point to Crawford, and was greeted by Joel Przybilla, who put his arms out as if to say “what are you doing here?”
“It was good to see him, Przybilla said. “He had a smile on his face. I just wish we could have gotten a win for him.”
Neither Crawford nor any of the Blazers knew that Roy would be making an appearance. As a result, Brandon’s gift had its intended effect.
“He surprised me,” said Crawford, Roy’s good friend from Seattle who turned 32 Tuesday. “It means a lot. He’s someone who is loved here for sure. I think it was even more meaningful for the fans who got to see him for the first time.”
Roy, who declined to speak with reporters, stepped out midway through the second quarter and did not return until the fourth. Wesley Matthews said he was hoping to converse with him during a timeout or deadball, but that “he was gone,” before the opportunity arose.
Roy missed 33 games last year due to degenerative knees that forced his retirement at the beginning of the season. But his brief showing Tuesday did generate some nostalgia.
“It was kind of surreal thinking about the Blazers without him,” said Matthews, adding that, inside the locker room, Roy was “just another brother.” “Seeing him on the other side of the court, it was cool. It was real cool.”