Grant – who represented Portland from 1997-2000 – was spotted getting in a mid-morning workout across from the Blazers practice facility and sporting team logoed shorts, leaving many die-hard fans around the Portland metro area with lasting visions of the “Rasta Monsta” roaming the paint and snagging boards during his three seasons in Rip City.
He still has the dreds. And at 36-years-old, there’s no doubt – at least in my mind – that he could run with the young bucks. After 12 seasons in the NBA, Grant officially hung them up in 2006 after some lingering health issues. At the time Grant said if he continued to play, he’d need knee replacement. But now after two years away from the hardwood, is it too far fetched to even daydream about Grant pulling an Allan Houston (who is a year older) with the New York Knicks and attempting a comeback?
This is where Fantasy Island meets reality T.V. meets the NBA.
This is how rumors get started.
This is how leaving the last roster spot open coming out of training camp for the Blazers starts to make sense.
This is how a seasoned veteran – who clearly fits the organizations “culture” – and appears in peak physical shape lends his expertise to Portland’s youth movement in the frontcourt and the lockerroom.
This is how 5,622 career rebounds can’t be wrong.
This is how taking six-stitches over the eye and still playing after Karl Malone opens you up with an elbow during the playoffs is forever manly.
This is how a flashback to a conversation I had with assistant coach Monty Williams last year at this time happens.
Back then, Williams – who played on those intimidating Knicks’ early 90’s squads alongside Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley – told me time and again how the Blazers needed to “muscle-up”:
“We want a Charles Oakley. And that’s what Oak did. He could shoot the ball but nobody would challenge him. So if we can get our guys to get that mentality, we don’t want UFC fighters on the floor, we want basketball players, so hopefully we can do that.”
If you think about it, Williams’ words still hold weight today in many ways. Obviously Portland has gained some ground with Greg Oden and Ike Diogu joining Joel Przybilla as the Blazers’ muscle downlow. But now with Oden’s fragility at stake (let’s be honest folks) Portland would benefit from obtaining what is referred to in the league as a hired “goon.”
With Raef LaFrentz’ 7.5 minutes per game readily available, Grant could be that “goon.”
Can’t blame a guy for trying.
pic via: cnnsi