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'The Brandon Roy Story' a must-read book for Blazers fans

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - 'The Brandon Roy Story' by veteran Seattle sports writer Dan Raley covers the gamut of the former Trail Blazers star's life and career in basketball.In 2009, with Brandon Roy at the height of his NBA pre-eminence, Dan Raley began an autobiography project with the three-time All-Star guard of the Trail Blazers.

Nearly four years later, the fruits of their collaboration -- "The Brandon Roy Story" -- have been released.

I've not yet read the book, but I've known Raley -- a sports writer with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1981 until its demise in 2009 -- for many years. Now digital editor with MSN.com in Seattle, Raley is a scribe I respect, and I've no doubts the book is both well-crafted and of considerable interest to fans of Roy and the Blazers.

Raley, 59, covered Roy during his four years at the University of Washington, In January 2009, after the P.I. had announced plans to end operations, Raley was driving to Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the night the Huskies were retiring Roy's No. 3.

"I was wondering what my future might hold," Raley says. "I thought, 'I'll write a book about Brandon.' He was at the top of his game. In 30 years in the business, he was the most genuine high-profile athlete I'd met."

That night, Raley mentioned the possibility to Roy, who replied, "Anything you want."

Six months later, Raley drove to Portland to ask Roy if he was serious.

"Absolutely," Roy said. "Let's do it."

Cover of Dan Raley's new book on the life of former Trail Blazers star Brandon RoyRaley spent time with Roy and his family before moving to Atlanta, where he spent two years as a news editor and anchor writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While in Atlanta, he interviewed NBA players who came through to play the Hawks about Roy.

Two years ago, Roy had the book written, copy edited and ready to go. Then the publisher went belly up.

"I figured the project was dead," Raley says. "By that time, Brandon's health was starting to deteriorate. He'd had that amazing playoff game against the Mavericks, but then his knees went out on him. I figured I'd do an e-book, and it wouldn't cost anything."

Then Roy decided to make a comeback attempt with Minnesota. Raley spoke to Roy, telling him of his plans for an e-book.

"Brandon encouraged me not to give up on the idea of a (printed) book," Raley says. "He said, 'See if you can get a regular book. I'd like to hand it to kids in my foundation.' "

Raley located a publisher in Kenmore, Wash., then rewrote the book's beginning and end. On Monday, the book began showing up in bookstores through the Northwest as well as Amazon.com.

"We rewrote the book with the understanding (the rest of) his career could be short," Raley says. "Perhaps it will be like that of Gale Sayers or Tony Conigliaro -- a real flashy career for a short period of time. It was much better when he was at the height of his game, but it's still a great story."

Raley says Roy was revealing about his life.

"He talked about his money, drugs, sex and everything else I asked him out," Raley says. "But Brandon is the most straight-laced high-profile athlete I've met. He's with the only woman (wife Tiana) he ever dated. He's not perfect. He punched a kid and got a one-week suspension at Garfield High, which is in the book. But he's never had any real issues."

Raley spent an entire chapter on Roy's fifth-grade year in the same class with Nate Robinson, later his teammate at Washington and an NBA player. Raley ran down their teacher and got some insights about the pair.

There are 32 color photos, most of Roy from his years in Portland.

During the time spent writing the book, Raley confirmed what he thought about Roy.

"I really like him," Raley says. "He's just a good person. His biggest fault, if it is a fault, is he's honest about everything. He doesn't try to embellish anything."

After Roy signed with Minnesota, he showed up in Minneapolis early.

"When I asked him why, he said, "I had to get my kid into kindergarten,' " Raley says. "That's not a sports star thing to say; that's a dad thing to say. That's Brandon."

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Twitter: @kerryeggers