Hollywood — “He gets it.” I heard those three words more than once on Thursday night, each instance serving as a description of Brandon Roy. As one of the brightest young stars in the league, much is expected of him from both his franchise and the NBA.
He understands. Gladly embraces the responsibility. The traits that make him special on the hardwood are the same core values that make him unique off it. Confidence. Humility. Exuberance. Roy was in the city of dreams on Thursday evening for a first-class party thrown for him by electronics company LG and Rotohog.com at “AtSunset Mansion,” a beautiful venue across the street from the world famous Mondrian Hotel.
The two entities are partnering up for the “LG Edge out Brandon Roy Fantasy Football League.” Fans will be able to go head up against Brandon in a fantasy football league for prizes, including the new LG Edge plasma. Brandon will also have a blog on the site and users will be able to interact with him via the league. Scot Philp, Senior VP of Marketing for Rotohog.com, says Brandon is a perfect fit for their venture.
“We wanted to work with an NBA star and he is everything we could have imagined. He is the class of the NBA. Tied to a brand like LG, which is also top notch, we thought he would be the best athlete to interact and engage with our audience.”
While at the party, I had a chance to sit down with Brandon to discuss some fantasy football strategy and the state of the Blazers.
SLAM: Tell us about your involvement with Rotohog.com?
Brandon Roy: I’ve always been a fan of all sports, football kind of being my favorite. They asked me to be a part of it and said yeah, I would love to pick some players and get into the competitiveness of it. We’re all fans, so I’m excited to be a part of it.
SLAM: Are you going to put some serious study time in?
BR: I want to win at anything I put my mind towards, so I will definitely put some study time into it. I know a couple NFL players, so I’m going to try to get some behind the scene action like, ‘What are you guys looking like?” (Laughs). I’m definitely looking to pick up as many tips as I can. It should be a lot of fun. I want to make sure I pick the best players and have the best team.
SLAM: How are you doing health wise?
BR: My body is good. This has been a good summer for me. I’ve been working with a nutritionist—just learning how to eat and take care of my body. The season is so long and there are times in the season when your body can break down. I’ve tried to learn as much as I can so when the season gets tough, I will know what I have to put into my body to gear up and play. I’ve been trying to get better and improve. Our team has a good opportunity coming up, a lot of excitement behind us. We want to continue it.
SLAM: You guys made some moves this summer.
BR: Yeah. We traded Jarrett Jack, my backcourt guy since I’ve been there. Going to be hard without him, but we got a talented player in Bayless. We hope he can bring what Jarrett brought and hopefully more. He’s talented. He’s athletic. Hopefully he and I can run some combo guard. We got big Greg back. We’re all looking forward to his debut. We also have Rudy Fernandez. We will get chance to watch him during the Olympics. He plays a big role for his team. I’ll be supporting him, except when they play the Americans. (Laughs). I’m just excited about our team, man. We have a lot of good things going for us. LaMarcus Aldridge improved last year. He should have been Most Improved, but Turkoglu had a great season. We got a great team. We just have to stay hungry.
SLAM: Do you really think Greg will be ready to go? The Blazers have been extremely cautious with his rehab.
BR: I think so. People just shouldn’t have their expectations too high for him. Not only will it be his 1st NBA game, but he sat out a whole year, away from basketball. It’s tough to get right back into it. We’re playing everyday. He’s had to sit on the couch for a year. I think people need to be patient. We have to do a good job of deflecting some of that and playing at a high level, to take pressure off him. But, he’s a beast. A manchild. Working out with him before his knee injury, he was a manchild, there was nothing you could do with him. He’s stronger now. He just has to get his durability back. He will. We feel that if his knee can hold up, he brings a lot to our team.
SLAM: Portland was in a bit of a transition time when you arrived as a rookie and they immediately made you the face of the franchise…
BR: You know, coming out of Washington, people always asked me if I wanted to go to the Sonics. I would say, yeah, but I kind of wanted to get away. Portland was the perfect situation. It was a chance to get away, but not too far. My family is still up the street. My college experience prepared me to come in and handle the pressures of being the face of a franchise. Staying four years at Washington prepared me. There was no way I could have come in out of high school and been able to handle that. Coach Romar did a great job of helping me learn how to use my teammates. It makes the game easier for me. In the NBA you need a number of guys to be successful. I’m still learning how to be the go-to guy, or the face of the franchise. At the same time I have a bunch of great guys around me who make my job easier.
SLAM: It seems that in many instances when a college senior goes into the draft, some NBA execs see that player as old or….
BR: Why has he been there four years?
SLAM: Exactly. But it was the opposite for you. By the time you were a senior, many had learned to appreciate your game. The irony of it all is that you actually declared for the draft out of high school and then pulled out.
BR: I was one of those kids. They knew I wasn’t ready and I kind of felt I wasn’t ready. There were things that I was good at, but I needed the time to develop. Every year I got better. Every year I gained more confidence, believed in myself more. I was great as a freshman, but I didn’t have the confidence to go out there and do it with the lights on. As I matured and got more confident in my game, I was able to display it. Then people started to say I was talented. But there were still the people who wondered why I had to stay four years. It’s my job to prove them wrong. I went out every night my rookie year to try to prove people wrong. I was the 6 pick, I wanted to show people that I should have gone higher. The situation worked out great for me. I’m in a great city with great fans and I was blessed to be a part of a great team. I think we have the cleanest locker room in the NBA. It’s refreshing going in there. That’s a blessing in itself.
SLAM: It sure wasn’t like that when you got there.
BR: Everybody heard the rumors. It’s been a complete 360. Everyone in our locker room is a great guy. Nobody’s perfect, but I think everyone is responsible. That is the important thing. We have to understand that we’re role models, so we have to try our best to stay out of trouble and need to be responsible. Everybody can respect that. And we have to play well on the court.