While a collection of childhood running buddies, high school teammates, college rivals and NBA counterparts ran up and down the KeyArena court in Seattle last weekend, Brandon Roy sat and watched. It was something of a familiar position for Roy, the three-time NBA All-Star who has missed 52 regular-season games for the Portland Trail Blazers over the past two years due to knee injuries.
And then again, it was unfamiliar: KeyArena hadn’t been host to a game featuring NBA players since 2008, before the Supersonics left the city and moved to Oklahoma City. Roy, who grew up in Seattle and played college ball at the University of Washington, hadn’t played in the Sonics’ gym since his second year in the league.
Roy was originally scheduled to play in the H206 Charity Basketball Classic on Saturday, benefiting the A Plus Youth Program. But ultimately he decided against it on the advice of his doctors. After watching the Seattle team beat the League squad, 140-122, and local product Terrence Williams (Houston Rockets) take MVP with a 25-point performance, Roy answered a few questions on his offseason, the NBA lockout, and the Blazers’ championship chances.
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Dime: What did you think of the game today?
Brandon Roy: I think the guys did a great job. It was great for the city. It was fun sitting on the bench, hearing the fans yelling and screaming. I remember my first couple of years (in the NBA), coming back here … it was really loud. I miss the Sonics, just like the fans do. We all want to see a team back here.
Dime: You said you didn’t play just to be safe. How’s your health?
BR: I feel good. I’m doing great. I’m working out, keeping my weight down, starting to play a little basketball this week. I’m just enjoying the summer and taking my time so I can keep improving.
Dime: How closely are you following the NBA lockout?
BR: I’ve been watching the football lockout more than anything. (laughs) Hopefully there’s no (work stoppage) with us. I know guys wanna play basketball. I know personally I can’t wait to get out there and start playing again. Hopefully the lockout doesn’t cause us to miss games. We need to get back on track. I thought it was really good what Dallas did this year; that put (the league) in a good position.
Dime: Is there anything you would be doing right now that you can’t do because of the lockout?
BR: It’s all the same right now. It’s really no different in July. Guys don’t really get going until August or September. Right now they’re just relaxing, maybe working out at home, really trying to enjoy the time off.
Most guys will start turning it up more competitively once we get into August. I’m just fine-tuning some things. I’m not in any pain, though. I can play and not have any pressure in having to deal with my knees is good. I can just go out there and hoop.
Dime: What are your other plans for the summer?
BR: Just working out, getting better. I’m in a position where I’m not bound to any tours or anything, so I feel like I can focus on getting better with my game. I’m excited.
Dime: Knowing that you guys gave Dallas a battle in your series, and they were the eventual NBA champions, does that give you any kind of indication where Portland is as far as contending for a title?
BR: We’re in a good position. Myself personally, I have a lot of confidence because when I played well against Dallas, we won. So that gave me confidence that I can play at a high level and still help my team win games.
You know, my confidence was up and down coming back from the injuries. But right now it’s high and I’m looking forward to next year.
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