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NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 17, 2008 -- Your first time is always special. And Brandon Roy's first All-Star Game lived up to the hype.
Roy, the Blazers' second-year guard and the defending NBA Rookie of the Year, had a memorable debut on the NBA All-Star stage, netting 18 points, nine boards and five assists despite the West's 134-128 loss Sunday night.
He had several spectacular dunks and went hard to the hoop for all of his 28-plus minutes on the court. And with fellow first-time All-Stars Chris Paul and David West of the hometown Hornets, Roy played a major role in the West's second-half revitalization.
But talking to Roy after the game, the former University of Washington star admitted to having surprisingly modest hopes for what his first All-Star experience might bring.
"I just wanted to soak it all in," Roy said. "I wanted to look around, I wanted to see the fans, I wanted to see the celebrities and just try to enjoy it."
"I just wanted to score once," he said of his on-court expectations. "I just wanted to run up and down the court and have fun."
The awestruck 23-year-old admitted to feeling nervous before the game, despite averaging nearly 20 points, six assists and five rebounds a game during the regular season. But the West's veterans stepped in to provide wisdom and guidance.
"It was incredible to sit there and have conversations in the locker room with all of these great players. 'Tim Duncan wow! Why are you talking to me?'
"They all said that everyone is nervous their first time," he continued. "But you get out there and you get your feet wet."
Roy was so nervous that he almost didn't believe it when Western Conference coach Byron Scott sent him in to start the second quarter.
"When Coach called my name, I was like 'You sure?' " Roy said with a laugh after the game. "But I went out there and made my first shot. And all of the jitters went away."
But the 6-6 guard put up his 18 points on 8-10 shooting from the field. His work on the boards tied Duncan for the second highest rebounding mark on the Western squad.
Still Roy couldn't help but be self-effacing.
"It's a humbling experience to come from where I come from and to be playing on a team with these players. These guys are all gonna be legends."
"Even when we play against some of these guys in the regular season, it's still like, 'Hey, that's Dirk,' or 'Wow, that's Kobe!' And it still hasn't sunk in. They're all great players and I think I'm gonna be in awe every time I play with or against them."
Roy's five assists show that he's a provider more concerned with helping his team than padding his individual stats. And after the final buzzer sounded, his thoughts turned immediately back to his teammates in Portland.
"Now it's time to get back to work," he said. "I've been talking to my teammates all week about this experience and how it wouldn't have been possible for me if they hadn't done their parts. So I'm definitely going to go back and share it with them.
"The whole second half of the season is ahead of us."
But despite his dedication to his team, he did allow for a few moments of reflection on his time in the Crescent City.
"For me this was a 10. I enjoyed every moment of it. Words can't explain it."
"It was everything I expected it to be. Maybe even more."
In two years, Roy has gone from first-round draft pick to Rookie of the Year to first-time All-Star to well, what's next?
"All the guys keep saying, 'Now you've got to do it every year.' Yeah, I made the All-Star team in my second year, and now I want to make it every year after that.
"But next for me is to try to get the Blazers to the playoffs. Being an All-Star is great for me and it's great for the organization. But it'd be even better to have my team in the playoffs. So that's next."
Humility and a team-first attitude from a talented 23-year-old? Well, there's a first time for everything.