“One of two in 100 years of basketball (to get his number retired)? That’s amazing,” Roy said, wearing cuff links beneath his monogram at the ends of the open-collared, white dress shirt that complemented his dark suit. “Even more, the 30th Pac-10 player? It’s a great list to be on.”
An improbable one, too.
Roy failed to get qualifying college entrance scores out of Seattle’s Garfield High School in 2002. His scores improved so dramatically when he took the SAT a second time the disbelieving NCAA’s clearinghouse rejected them as invalid. So he took it again — and his scores were lost. Then they were found. The NCAA cleared him for eligibility. The UW did not, initially.
Months of what should have been his freshman year passed, darkly. The Huskies’ season began and Roy was a confused teenager, shut out of college and the arena in which he is now immortalized. He needed a purpose, a job.
So the man who torched the Phoenix Suns for 52 points earlier this season with the Trail Blazers scrubbed industrial spills out of the insides of shipping containers in the rugged, cold shipyards in downtown Seattle.
Talk about rags-to-riches. The payoff was three consecutive NCAA tournaments, Pac-10 royalty in his hometown and NBA stardom down Interstate 5.
“Yeah, the doubt definitely crept in my freshman year,” Roy said, chuckling. “I thought, ‘Man, I’ll never have that chance.”‘