This was about an athlete losing faith in himself right in front of our eyes. This wasn’t about outside circumstances taking a toll on him, this was a man only five years deep into one of the game’s more promising careers facing the possibility that his services might no longer be needed. This was Roy’s basketball life flashing before his eyes while he sat on the bench. This was about a feeling of hopelessness. What can a superstar prove if he’s only allowed to play eight minutes a game and take one shot?
Double knee surgeries in January. Playing only 47 games this season. Try being 26 years old and being shown the light at the end of your own tunnel. A three-time All-Star, the face of the franchise who couldn’t break back into the starting lineup; who, game-by-game, was being depended upon less and less; whose purpose on his team was evaporating.
And here’s where someone else’s belief comes into play.
Nate McMillan, the Portland head coach, had a decision to make. He heard Brandon’s quotes after Game 2 and knew it was on him as to how it was going to play out.