The Blazers seem to be concerned that Brandon Roy might not win this year's rookie of the year award. I'm not sure who could beat him at this point, to be honest. But nevertheless, Portland's insecurity meshes nicely with my needs, as they both sent me a Brandon Roy-themed keychain Leatherman (He's sharp! He's multitalented! He can remove splinters!) and offered him for a phone interview.
I grew up in Portland and have followed the Blazers my entire life. I also used this very blog in the run up to last year's draft to plead with the Blazers to draft Roy.
I lack the ability to be objective in a Brandon Roy interview, so I decided the best course of action was to change the topic to talk about children, especially as Roy and his girlfriend Tiana Bardwell just had their first, Brandon Jr., a week ago.
As a parent, I know that one week after having a baby, that's all he's thinking about anyway. So that's what we talked about when he called yesterday:
It's going great. It's kind of weird being a new dad right now, to be honest. But I can't wait until I can spend more time with him. But now there's still work to do.
Your girlfriend went into labor when you were in Chicago, and you hopped on a plane to be there. Did you make it in time?
I made it in time. I probably had two or three hours before he was born. All the way on the plane I was saying please don't have this baby yet! Then as soon as I landed I called my mom and she said he still hadn't been born, which was great.
Your girlfriend had some complications, right, and you had been worried about a premature delivery?
Right. She had contractions and ended up wanting her to stay in the hospital for a month. The doctor felt that if she was on her feet the baby might come. So that was tough times, especially because I was on the road and I couldn't be there for her.
You are from Seattle, but you and your girlfriend both live in Portland. Where is your girlfriend and baby now?
They were just here in Portland, but we had a big talk and decided that she would move back to be with all our family for a little bit in Seattle with our families because I still have some more road trips and she'd be home all alone with the baby. But they were here for the last five days, and left this morning. So I got to be a dad. I woke up in the middle of the night and changed diapers. I had days without any sleep. But that's the thing, even when the baby is asleep you just sit there and stare at it. When I got to bed, I had one eye open, watching that baby the whole time.
A friend told me, when we had our first baby, to be sure to schedule about three hours a day for just gazing at the baby.
For sure. I have never heard that, but it's definitely true.
Have you been peed on yet?
Yes! It came at a perfect moment, too. My girlfriend was out at the store, and I was changing his diaper. He got me good. He peed everywhere. I had to wash him up and ended up giving him his first little bath. He picked a good time to do it though. He peed all over the bed, and had me washing the sheets and all my clothes and everything.
Now, I have to ask you about your son's middle name. The whole NBA just finally learned to spell Dwyane Wade's name. Now your son's middle name is a totally different version.
How does Dwyane Wade spell his name?
Oh, yeah, that's a problem. Mine is D-A-W-A-Y-N-E. Ask my mom, though, she's the one who started it.
I guess we should talk about basketball a little bit. It seems like every few days the Blazers have some other new announcement: Paul Allen bought the arena back, Kevin Pritchard is the new GM, any day now you'll have a new team president. How are you feeling about all that?
I'm excited for everything going on, and excited to be a part of it. I always wanted to be a big part of an NBA team, and now to be here with all this, we're building something. We're going to bring the franchise back to what it was like five or ten years ago.
What kind of relationship do you have with Kevin Pritchard?
I have a great relationship with KP. I first met him at a private workout in Seattle before the draft. Afterwards we talked for a long time, about basketball, and about old-school players. I was really impressed with his knowledge of the game. Then when I was drafted, I heard through the organization that KP fought hard for me. Now, whenever I put on the uniform, I try to do my best to make him proud.
What kind of old school players did you talk about?
He was laughing, comparing me to Clyde Drexler.
Except you look up when you dribble.
[Laughs]. Oh. Yeah. I guess. I think he meant more in terms of a role in the community, not so much the way we play.
What do you think about playing point guard?
I like it. I played it a lot in college, and being a Northwest team the Blazers scouted me a lot. Before the draft they had me to a lot of handle and breakdown drills. In summer league, Nate McMillan said "you're going to get your dream come true now, because you're going to play point guard the whole summer league."
Is that the long term plan for you?
It may never be my position. But it's definitely something that will keep happening sometimes. The coaches like to use me like Miami uses Dwyane Wade. Down the stretch in close games, there's still another point guard on the floor, but he usually handles the ball. I might do it a little bit in the first half, too. I tend to switch off.
You have a blog on Blazers.com. Do you actually sit down and type that? Does somebody write it for you?
I sit down with some people from Blazers.com and tell them everything, and then they type it up for me. I'm taking turns with LaMarcus, and I need him to hurry up and go, so that I can go next because there has been a lot going on that I'm ready to talk about.
This team is about to get another high draft pick. You worried about who that might be?
I don't worry about the draft. My days are filled with trying to figure out how to win the next game. Plus I know this is a draft that's deep with talented big men, and you can't go wrong with one of those.
KP and the guys are working hard. This team has guys who are focused on this all the time. I'm comfortable that they'll bring in someone who is not just a great player, but also solid off the court to fit into what we're trying to build here. Whoever they get is going to be great. I don't even worry about it.