Deep in the bowels of RealGM’s NBA message board lays an unheard prophecy. “The Official I Have a Man Crush on Brandon Roy Club“, it reads. “… yes I am drunk, but still, how f’ing awesome is Mr. B.Roy?” I see this because it’s late on a Friday night and I’m sitting on my couch curious whether anybody else shares my adoration.
The amount of Google results for the phrase “I have a man crush on Brandon Roy” assure me I’m not alone. In fact, I’m far from alone. Not that it’s precise or anything, but that exact wording returns more than 10 times the result of the same phrase with any other name that first comes to mind. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul; all of them, even combined, fall pathetically short. I try Justin Timberlake, Kanye West… Barack Obama? What about Reggie Bush, Derek Jeter or Sidney Crosby? Heck, I bite my tongue and try Dwyane Wade, even the misspelled a-y’ version just to make sure; love can do funny things to one’s ability to spell… not even double digits.
For some indefinable reason this suspiciously humble kid from the Pacific northwest has the same tantalizing effect on men all over the country and I’m determined to figure out why. I can’t even imagine what he does to women. Rarely have I approved of professional athletes dating my sister, but with Roy my subconscious starts putting together a reasonable dowry.
In Game 3 of the Portland Trailbazers’ Western Conference quarter-final, Roy and company came this close to taking down the Houston Rockets behind 19 from their silent leader. When I watch the undersized shooting guard immerge above a pack of towering post players for a timely offensive put-back in the game’s final minutes, it reminds me of why I like the guy in the first place.
Never mind the fact that much of his success comes from a certain elegant scrappiness or that he waddles when he’s boxing out, Brandon Roy hits that same springy jump shot you replicate in your kitchen while you wait for your bagels to toast and that’s why you love him. He gets things done without cueing a parade of followers.
Not long after Roy helps his squad get threateningly close to a Game 3 win, he misses a couple of inside attempts that, in all likelihood, Dwyane Wade or LeBron James would have hit. And then he fouls out. It’s his mortality that makes him so relatable and his deviation from today’s Hollywood-meet-basketball landscape that makes him so appealing.
Roy has no visible tattoos and has said in the past that body art is against his nature. You won’t catch him with chains thick enough to tow a tractor nor will you find him sitting courtside at one of the league’s most prestigious events masquerading as a taller version of Kanye West. He’s simply just a down-to-earth dude minimizing the impact of the stuff he does on the basketball court so as to remain under the radar.
The things that separate him from all the other Joes and blows living under the professional sports radar, however, are the things that prevent him from being a full-fledged celebrity. While the Dwight Howard’s of the world are off channelling the marketability of Clark Kent or making prank calls to All-Star teammates, Brandon Roy is, by nature, not so… obvious.
As superstardom waits so easily attainable, he gives it the ol’ thanks-but-no-thanks, the ol’ hold-on-a-sec-I’m-just-breathing-new-life-into-a-traditionally-disappointing-franchise. He sees what the industry expects of him as a rising star, but continues down his own silent path.
It’s some combination of this gritty ability to dominate the most athletic league on earth and his apathetic attitude towards fame in the first place, I hypothesize, that makes him who he is; the definition of cool, yet we’ll never know for sure. We can only hope to one day understand what it is exactly, that makes us wish we knew how to do what he does.
There’s no telling how long these sort of loves last, but with a guy like Brandon Roy it’s not so hard to imagine forever. Until his brand is mashed into the collective’s face as frequently and obnoxiously as the rest of today’s sporting world, it’s easy to root for him as the last undiscovered resource in the NBA.
Let’s just hope the Blazers don’t go and blow the secret by coming back in this series and advancing too far in the post-season.