A new biography was just released called "The Brandon Roy Story" about the NBA superstar. Both he, and its author, Dan Raley, a PI reporter for 29 years, were raised in West Seattle. Highline Principal Jenni Maughan-MacDonald mentored him, and other future athletic stars, after school.
New biography on NBA star Brandon Roy; credits West Seattle, family, & Garfield teacher, now Highline principal, for success
West Seattle-raised award-winning sports writer Dan Raley, known for his 29 years with the Seattle PI, and his book "Pitchers of Beer: The Story of the Seattle Rainiers", just released "The Brandon Roy Story", (Old Seattle Press) a biography of the West Seattle-raised NBA superstar. While his softcover is 236 pages with more than 30 color photos for NBA fans to peruse with delight, Raley is effective in making the case that you don't have to be a sports fan to be a Brandon Roy fan.
In his professional career, the 6' 6" Portland Trail Blazer, and now Timberwolf, appears to have perfected the art of a life of ball-handling. He could both storm toward the basket for yet another two points, and tread lightly off the court to quietly, and privately, raise his two toddlers, Brandon Jr. and Mariah, with his high school sweetheart, wife Tiana, while making assist after assist to help family and friends from his humble beginnings.
Raley, now homepage editor for MSN.com in Bellevue, calls Chapter 3 "Delridge Days" and discusses Brandon, sister, Jaamela, brother, Ed, and the occasional extended family member living on the ground floor of a rented three-plex at 4137 Delridge Way SW. A photo on the front page of the Brandon Roy Foundation website dated Sept. 17, 2008, shows him cutting a purple ribbon a mere four blocks south of his childhood home as he officially opened "Roy Court" to the public at Delridge Community Center. The West Seattle Herald reported on the event.
All were raised under the watchful eyes of their mother, Gina, and father, Tony, a high school basketball legend in Seattle and former Marine. Tony's mother, strong-willed, nurturing Frances, was the backbone of the family.
Before playing for Garfield High School, Roy, and his older brother of two years, Ed, also athletic, were coached in basketball on the High Point Community Center team by former Seahawks and Steelers star Willie Williams, who had also coached their father.
"I wrote the Brandon Roy book because I did meet everybody like Ken Griffey, Jr., Lenny Wilkens, and all the great ones that have ever been produced here or come here," Raley told the West Seattle Herald. Raley played football, basketball, baseball at Roosevelt. "Brandon, to me, was the most genuine, high-level athlete I'd ever met, so I wanted to tell his story. He was a three-time all-star and rookie of the year. No one from Seattle has ever done that before. When I travel I see people wearing his jersey at the Kansas City airport, Detroit Airport, everywhere.
Raley continued, "He's with the only woman he ever dated. He doesn't drink, and no tattoos, unheard of for any athletic player. He bought a lot of gold jewelry when he entered the NBA, then gave it away to his mother and girlfriend. I've known him since he was a high school kid. I wrote about his dad Tony when he played for Lincoln and Garfield high schools."
"When Brandon was 18 he worked at the docks just down from the house, a container yard off the Duwamish River," he said. "He made $10.50 an hour cleaning out ship containers filled with cow carcasses and salmon guts."
Roy became a big star playing all four years for UW. He played for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2006 to 2011, retired because of knee injuries, but has attempted a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His future is in question, and some expect him to announce retirement shortly.
"He is 28 now," said Raley. "He's got to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. His knees. He's like another Gale Sayers. His knees have always been a problem. Guys ran into him. The NBA is a tough game. It's probably just a matter of time before he has to leave the game early. Even guys with healthy knees are going to pay a price.
"I feel bad that he wanted to play 10 or 12 years in the NBA and only played five, but he got his money," Raley said. (His contracts will have earned him $110 million.) "His entire family was made secure by his hitting the pro basketball lottery."
Raley said he looks foreword to another comeback, the return of the Seattle SuperSonics, and would love to see Brandon Roy as coach.
Brando Roy mentor, West Seattle resident & Highline Principal Jenni Maughan-MacDonald
Jenni Maughan-MacDonald of West Seattle is Principal, Health Science and Human Services High School (HS3) on Highline School's Evergreen campus. Roy wanted her to be mentioned in "The Brandon Roy Story" as he felt she was a key mentor at Garfield where she taught science.
Maughan-MacDonald became Assistant Principal at West Seattle High School in 2007 to 2010. She was after-school monitor for Roy, and other future athletes, including NFL star Isaiah Stanback and former NBA player, and now scouting staffer, Will Conroy. Roy attended Garfield while living on Delridge because of its robust basketball program with Bulldogs' head coach Wayne Floyd.
"They would be in my room after school and worked on homework," she told the West Seattle Herald. "I was a safe place for them to be between when school got out and when basketball practice started. For a couple of hours each day, I got to know them really well, talking to them, discussing life, what they were going to do after they got out of high school.
"They were all really humble," she recalled. "There was more hubbub around Brandon than Will and Isaiah, who had also gone on to be very successful. He didn't brag about it. He didn't go tooting his horn. He just let his playing on the court speak. They always said 'Brandon is going to play in the NBA' and we would always say 'Yeah, but we've got to get him through high school and college first.' Brandon knew he wanted to play but he knew education was important. You could tell that there was something special about Brandon. We knew he was good, but I don't think we realized how good."
Dan Raley will officially launch "The Brandon Roy Story" this Saturday, March 23, at Costco, 4401 4th Ave S., from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. He is trying to arrange a book signing at a West Seattle location. We will update when details come in.
The book is available on Amazon and other outlets.