TUALATIN, Ore. — Purchase and store away the marble.
Save every special jersey and game ball.
Collect the shoes, shorts, socks, T-shirts, wristbands and everything else collectors fantasize about.
One day, they’re all going to have a place.
One day, they’re all going to have a home.
And before too long, everything in black, red and white ever belonging to Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy will be cherished, prized and immortalized.
Mark it down now: Roy is going down in Blazer history.
And his name will not just be recorded and listed next to a few soon-to-be-forgotten statistics.
Because before it’s all said and done, Roy will be the greatest Blazer of all time.
At least that’s where it looks like this is all heading.
Roy made his third consecutive All-Star team Thursday.
And in very Roy-like fashion, he said the first people he called when he received word of the honor were his parents.
But here’s something even more Roy: He was nearly off the phone with his mother when he remembered to mention the words “All-Star.”
Roy said he smiled as wide as he did the first time when he learned he would soon join the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
He made sure to praise his teammates, the organization, and the fans who pack the Rose Garden every night the Blazers are in town.
And he even got in a call to ex-Blazer Zach Randolph, while acknowledging that he is excited to watch Kevin Durant — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft — take the court beneath Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ ludicrous jumbotron.
But Roy mostly just kept it simple.
And so right.
Today, the only Blazer standing in Roy’s way for the key to the kingdom is Clyde Drexler.
Drexler racked up eight All-Star appearances, and twice took Portland to the NBA Finals
And the only item blocking Roy’s path to becoming the best ever in Blazerland is an NBA title.
Something he instantly acknowledged and was perfectly aware of while discussing what separates him from history.
“That’s my next step, moving from being an All-Star to a guy that’s taking the next step and taking a team to the Western Conference Finals and then playing for championships,” Roy said. “And I think that’s the difference between those really great players.”
Right now, Roy is a great player.
He does the impossible and pulls off the unimaginable.
He breathed life into this season’s Blazers, when the team was on life support and easily could have called it a day.
And he’s proud enough to understand what it truly takes to reach the promised land, while also being humble enough to realize that he needs LaMarcus Aldridge, Martell Webster, Nicolas Batum and a healthy Greg Oden, among others, to take the next step.
“It doesn’t get any better than Brandon Roy,” Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said.
And before long, Roy could very well become the best thing Rip City has ever seen.
Brian T. Smith covers the Trail Blazers for The Columbian. Contact him at 360-735-4528 email@example.com.