“The difference between success and failure is patience and persistence.”
Although some of us are blessed to be born with extraordinary talents in some area, until you learn to hone those skills; you will most likely fail far more than succeed. Albert Einstein spent years developing his intellect; even with the remarkable brain he possessed, while Michael Jordan also spent thousands of hours in the gym, working on his game to rise to the heights that he hit in the Association. As Jordan got older and his physical skills waned; he was smart enough and had enough knowledge of the game to adapt his style of play.
It is a sad thing to witness, when greats in any field lose their edge far too early, when it is due to internal demons that cause an individual to self-destruct, we as a society shake our collective heads and utter what a shame, that talent wasted by someone who allowed events to steer them off course. How ever, it is truly a sin when someone who does everything the right way, to obtain the position they occupy, see their world fall apart through no fault of their own. Unfortunately injury, accidents and sometimes a body just not strong enough to take the punishment, can derail a career quite easily.
One young man who falls into that category, is Minnesota Timberwolves shooting-guard Brandon Roy, who is attempting a comeback after retiring due to chronic knee pain last December. The former All-Star from the Portland Trail Blazers, was in too much agony to undergo the shortened and tightened schedule that the Association put together after reaching the conclusion of last year’s lockout. Although he received the 63 million dollars remaining on his contract, without hurting the Blazers, as they used the NBA Amnesty Clause, so his salary did not count against the club’s salary cap; at the age of 27, Roy walked away from his NBA career without a sense of fulfillment, wondering if he really made the right decision.
After sitting out last season, the player decided to make an attempt to get back on the court for the current campaign. Roy went through Regenokine treatments which is a non-surgical procedure to strengthen both his knees. The procedure was effective and during the off-season, he inked a two-year pact with the Minnesota Timberwolves, for a reported $10 million. Although he no longer was the All-Star player he had been earlier in his career, he was an asset to the T-Wolves, on and off the hardwood. He played pain-free for all of training camp, until he bumped his right knee in the knee of a Milwaukee Bucks player, in the final preseason contest.
That comeback attempt suffered a setback on Monday, as the “Pioneer Press” reported Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Monday, performed by the team doctor David Fischer. According to the paper, Roy has suffered pain in his right knee since November 9, which caused him to stay in the locker room for the second half of the T-Wolves matchup against the Indiana Pacers. According to the paper, the operation was to clean out debris in his knee and he is expected to play again in about a month. Roy told reporters that the surgery was not related to previous knee problems.
Earlier this week, Roy had an in-depth interview with the “Oregonian,” about his retirement last season and why it was so important to attempt a comeback. The interview revealed that the former All-Star has degenerative arthritis in both his knees, which has been the reason he has undergone surgery seven times, since his junior year of high school. The disease has destroyed the cartilage in both of his knees, accelerated by his playing hoops at the professional level; and he told the paper that doctors have determined that he is now at Level III. Roy told the paper “Level IV is when you get a knee replacement.”
So why is Roy attempting to play once again in the Association, with the knowledge at hand, that every time he goes on the court, he is one step closer to knee replacement surgery? Mainly because the former Blazers star, needed closure in this chapter of his life, before he could on to the next adventure up ahead. He was not happy about his decision and he realized that if he did not attempt a comeback, that the nagging whispers in his head would only increase over the years. However he also had to come to grips, that if he could return to the hardwood, he would no longer be that standout player, of just a few years ago.
Roy told the paper “I’m not going to say I was depressed, but I was pretty down. I wasn’t playing basketball. I wasn’t mad at anybody, it was just … I was 27 and I was a little confused on what to do next, or even if I was ready to move on to something next. I really didn’t want to be around people, not in an upset way. And I wasn’t embarrassed. But I didn’t know who I was anymore. It’s like I lost my identity. It’s like I went through my whole life as underdog, underdog, then — Bam! — I’m a big star. And now it’s like — I don’t want to say I was a nobody, but I wasn’t a basketball player anymore. It’s kind of like: Who is Brandon Roy type thing. And even to this day, I’m not fully sure I have recovered that, to where I know what my identity is. I think I’m still trying to regain it.”
The shooting guard said “When I was 40, would I look back and say ‘You quit because you couldn’t be the best player anymore?’ I didn’t want to get older and regret that. And the biggest thing I thought about was my kids. I’m going to want to hold them accountable one day, and I don’t want them to say, ‘Well, dad, you stopped playing just because of this… ‘ I want to say, no, I gave it an honest shot. And that’s the reason I felt I had to do this.”
Roy’s demons vanished when he played in his first regular season contest and he now feels content with himself, regardless if he makes it back to the court or not. The young veteran said “I wouldn’t be disappointed either way. If it ends in three weeks, it ends. It’s over. I’m totally satisfied with what I’ve done. I know the sacrifice and the effort that I put into coming back. It took a lot of discipline to get to where I am. That’s all I care about: how hard I’ve worked. So I can’t say I’m disappointed, that would be selfish. I was just a normal player my junior year in college, and everything since has been a major blessing. I’ve had an unbelievable run.”
When all is said and done, the most important thing in life is feeling proud of that person, that stares back from you in the mirror. Roy needed to go through this comeback to feel that way again. One can not help but respect anybody with that mind-set in any profession.