Brandon Roy unexpectedly shows at the Rose Garden
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)
Brandon Roy unexpectedly appeared at the Trail Blazers' game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night, his first visit to the Rose Garden since his abrupt retirement at the opening of training camp.
The three-time All-Star sat courtside with wife Tiana and was given a standing ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard. Team owner Paul Allen was among those standing.
Roy, who played all five of his NBA seasons in Portland and was the face of the franchise, was dogged by pain in both of his knees for the past two seasons. When the league lockout was resolved and training camp was set to open in December, he suddenly decided to call it quits.
At the time, he issued a statement that was released by the team, but he did not appear publicly.
''My family and health are most important to me and in the end this decision was about them and my quality of life,'' he said in the statement.
Roy maintained his silence with reporters Tuesday, but signed autographs and shook the hands of well-wishers. At halftime, he went into the Blazers' locker room and briefly met with Allen.
The Blazers fell 116-87 to the Bucks.
''It was good to see him,'' Blazers center Joel Przybilla said. ''He looks good, he's got a smile on his face. I just wish we could have gotten a win for him. He's been a big part of this organization, this city. A lot of us wouldn't be where we're at without what he's done and contributed to this team.''
The Blazers said Roy was at the game to surprise close friend Jamal Crawford, a guard for Portland who was celebrating his 32nd birthday. Crawford said afterward he had no idea Roy was coming.
A fan favorite whom many credit with turning around the team's once-tarnished ''Jail Blazers'' reputation, Roy finished his career with averages of 19 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
But he sat for stretches of last season because of pain and had arthroscopic surgery on both knees last January. He returned to end the season with a career-low average of 12.2 points in 47 games.
The Blazers used the NBA's amnesty clause to waive Roy after he announced his plans to seek medical retirement. By using amnesty, the Blazers freed up salary cap space that allowed the team to use a mid-level exception to sign Crawford.