Paralyzed ex NBA player Rodney Rogers emotional interview with Chris Webber + Wake Forest Tribute
Originally Published in 2013
I still remember buying a box of Classic Basketball cards in 1993 so I could get as many Penny Hardaway and Chris Webber rookie cards as I could. One of the players that kept popping up was Rodney Rogers – the 9th pick by the Denver Nuggets. What made Rogers so intriguing was the confidence he had coming into the league.
“I have Charles’ attitude, and my inside game is as powerful as his and Malone’s,” said Rogers. “I’ve got a great outside shot – better than both those guys. I’m ready for them. I fear no one, and if someone doesn’t fear me, they will.”
That confidence didn’t sit to well with The Mailman who delivered 28 and 11 against Rodney’s 9 and 4 in their first meeting. But Rodney’s game did have a little of that Mailman power game which allowed him to routinely posterize defenders and he had an effective, but streaky, jumper. Many people might recall the sequence on old NBA VHS tapes where a Nugget hit 3 straight 3 pointers in 9 seconds against Karl Malone and the Jazz – that was Rodney.
A little more than a decade later, in 2008, Rodney Rogers, now a former sixth man of the year, was in a dirt bike accident that left him a quadriplegic.
Last month, the #1 pick from Roger’s draft class and former 76ers teammate, Chris Webber, visited Rodney and his wife to talk about the past 5 years. Since the interview, his story has been gaining national attention and his alma-mater Wake Forest paid tribute to him last week during the halftime of the Wake Forest vs Maryland game.
There wasn’t much joy when I pulled that Rodney Rogers card out in 1993 but there was a lot of joy when I dug through my old basketball card boxes today, found and proudly displayed it in my office.
“I hope and pray that in the near future, I’ll get my arms back, and then hopefully my legs. If I had to walk with a cane or something, that’d be fine. I just want to be able to walk again.”
Related: ESPN article from 2008 about Rogers