What we witnessed in Portland on Saturday night was pretty special. Down 23 to the Mavericks and facing the daunting task of a 3-1 deficit, the Blazers turned to former superstar Brandon Roy. Roy, of course, rescued them with basket after basket, punctuating his turn-back-the-clock performance with a lefty layup to give the Blazers the incredible comeback win.
On it's own, that's special. When you throw in the fact that Roy was crying because of his inability to contribute enough to even get off the bench two games ago, it becomes the feel-good playoff story of the last several years. It was the kind of performance that really speaks for itself, and there's really not much more for me to add. If you missed it, you better watch it again here.
The way Roy is still beloved in Portland intrigues me. How many other cities would embrace a professional athlete that has a huge contract the team gave him despite knowing the injury risk, derailed his team's rise with said injuries, made said injuries worse by unnecessarily rushing back when he wasn't healthy, openly complained about a free agent signing, asked his coach to bench said player and complained about not playing despite being wildly ineffective. In most cities, that guy would get crucified. Take it from a Wizards fan who saw how divisive Gilbert Arenas was while doing many of those things himself.
But in Portland, that guy is beloved, because the whole city understands how difficult the last few years have been for him. Those angry quotes are correctly identified as a sign of frustration that, for all the work he put in to get to this point, his body is betraying him. There's a level of empathy that's so rare in professional sports, which is yet another reason why Portland fans are the best in the league. If you don't think their support made a difference with Roy's performance, just watch this video and tell me otherwise.