Brandon Roy

By Eric McHenry
From Columns, March 2008

Too many players, fans and coaches have underestimated Brandon Roy in the past, but this NBA all-star continues to show them that’s a costly mistake.

Brandon Roy
Brandon Roy still refers to the play, only half-jokingly, as “the highlight of my career.” It was the 2000 Washington State Basketball Tournament, and he had come off the bench for Garfield High School in its quarter-final round game against Mountlake Terrace. A gawky, untested sophomore, he quickly found himself face-to-face with the most notorious shot-blocker in the state—Seamus Boxley, a 6-foot, 7-inch senior bound for an NCAA Division-I team. Roy sized up his opponent, drove baseline, leapt into the air and dunked on Boxley with both hands.

“I couldn’t even sleep that night, I was so happy about that,” Roy recalls. “I think I only had, like, four points, but that dunk felt like 20.”

It may surprise fans of the mature Brandon Roy—who favors a slow-paced offense and likes to wear down flashier opponents with grit, finesse and grace under pressure—to learn that he was once known mainly for his 42-inch vertical leap. “Brandon could jump higher than any other person I’ve ever seen on the floor,” says Cole Allen, Roy’s best friend since high school. He remembers the day after the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. “Brandon was in the gym during lunchtime, duplicating those dunks in front of the whole school.”

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