Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the NBA: "The Unknown Superstar"

The Unknown Comic was the stage name for stand-up comedian Murray Langston, best known for his performances on The Gong Show during the 1970s.

It was a goofy gimmick in which the comedian performed with a paper bag over his head, but it enabled Langston to enjoy quite a career with over 100 major television appearances.

I can't help but think Brandon Roy and Langston may be kindred spirits.

You see, Roy may very well be the NBA's "Unknown Superstar."

Roy's "paper bag" is the City of Portland, the nation's 23rd largest television market.

While most of the East Coast was catching up on its shut-eye last night, Roy was torching the Phoenix Suns for a career-high 52 points at the Rose Garden. The University of Washington product capped his big night by burying the go- ahead jumper from beyond the arc with 1:01 remaining as Portland beat Phoenix, 124-119.

Brandon Roy may very well be the NBA's "Unknown Superstar."
But, just how many actually saw the scintillating performance?

Sure you can catch the highlights on SportsCenter, but it's just not the same as seeing history unfold. And make no mistake, the half-century mark is a big deal in the NBA.

When you look at the players that have scored 50 points in a game, the list is littered with names like Chamberlain, Jordan, Baylor and Gervin.

Among current players, Roy became just the 21st to ring up the magic number when he went 14-of-27 from the field, including 5-of-7 from three-point range against Phoenix. He also hit 19-of-21 free throws and had six assists and five rebounds for the Blazers, who snapped an 11-game skid to the Suns.

Usually the rarified air of 50 is reserved for superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Allen Iverson.

Sure, occasionally you will see a Jerry Stackhouse on the list or a Jamal Crawford, guys who aren't great players but have well-above average offensive skills and can light it up for a night here and there.

It's pretty clear which group Roy belongs in.

Most may not know it since the Seattle native is toiling in the relative obscurity of the Pacific Northwest but he's already a star, well on his way to elevating the Blazers to the top of the league.

Roy will never jump out at you with the incredible athletic ability of a Bryant, James or Dwyane Wade. He's not the quickest guy in the world, he doesn't jump out of the gym and he doesn't possess the freakish length to make things difficult on the defensive end.

What Roy does, however, is everything well. The 6-foot-6 All-Star is a plus shooter and ball-handler, who can move without the rock, create his own shot and defend some of the better two guards in the league.

Simply put, he's the NBA's "Unknown Superstar."

No comments: