Brandon Roy, as basketball fans know him now, is a tragic figure. He was a star immediately upon entering the league, making three All-Star appearances in his first four seasons, but his knees completely gave out in his fifth, and he retired at age 28 after a failed comeback attempt. It’s one of the most painful examples of a star-crossed career, but perhaps Roy’s new job will be able to write a new story.
Roy is in his first season as the head coach of the basketball team at Nathan Hale High School, where he has turned around a 3-18 squad from last season into a 5-0 start. It’s a great look, even if a good chunk of that improvement can likely be chalked up to the transfer of Michael Porter Jr., a top-5 recruit of the Class of 2017 who will be attending the University of Washington next year. Still, Roy is leading the kids, and bringing his elite NBA experience to the table in mentoring Porter.
Still, the question remains: if Roy wants to coach, couldn’t a former All-NBA player find work at a higher level? Roy’s answer to that question provides hope that he’s building for the long haul:
SLAM: Did you specifically want to coach at the high school level?
BR: I had a lot of people reach out, even NBA people that I’m good friends with asking if I wanted to do something at that level. Also, there were colleges asking if I wanted to do something at that level. It just felt right to be around the high school kids. Look, I’ve played in the NBA, and it’s hard to get those guys to adjust. And honestly, I didn’t think I was ready to step in and help a professional get better. But I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I could help high school kids.
That’s why I felt like the high school level was where I wanted to start my coaching career. And I do call it a career because it’s something I’m enjoying and want to continue to pursue. It almost feels like when I was playing I had to go to high school and college to get ready for the NBA. So that’s where I’m at in coaching—start at the bottom and develop my skills.
Roy is only 32 years old, so if he does have higher ambitions, he has plenty of time to work his way up the ladder. Leading a turnaround like the one that’s happening at Nathan Hale is a great start.