It has been a dark and painful summer for the Trail Blazers’ Rodney Hood. And not just because of the long hours he has spent rehabilitating his torn left Achilles tendon. And, of course, there’s the pandemic, too.
But it has been more than that for the Trail Blazers’ swing man. Much more. And a much worse kind of pain.
“It's been a chain of events,” he said Wednesday during a media availability from the team’s practice facility. “You know, obviously, I'm blessed to be able to be back on the court and playing basketball, but you know my family has been going through a tough time.
“Back then (during his rehab), it was my time for my wife to be there for me and now it's my time to be there for her. She lost her father, probably a month ago and, you know, it has been extremely hard on us as a family but particularly for her. So, just trying to make sure she's fine.”
And it’s been a summer of dealing with multiple deaths for the family.
“I lost my AAU coach earlier this year to cancer and now I lost my nephew to gun violence. So I've been flying all over the country, going to funerals and, you know, trying to be there for my family, trying to be in good spirits, trying to just push through. But it's been tough for us as a family.”
And there is no prescribed rehab for family tragedies like this.
“I'll be fine, but just my family.” he said. “Hopefully, everybody just puts us in their prayers and, you know, we get through it. Eventually, hopefully, I can just focus on basketball.”
It’s been a new experience for Rodney in his relatively young life.
“I'm not a guy who has dealt with a lot of death in my life,” he said. “So when it hits you, it hits hard and you question different things. But at the same time, it just puts things in perspective, you know, when it comes to basketball and what I'm dealing with, with my injury and all that.
“It becomes second nature. You know when it comes to life or death and loved ones leaving, having to be there for your family, not just emotionally, but financially or physically... So, it's been tough. It's been tough all the way around, but you know it's part of life. You just have to pick up where you left off.”
He has gotten help from inside his family.
“Having talked to my father and my mother,” he said, “you know, you just gotta keep pushing on.
“I don't mean to get dark again, but my grandfather has been battling terminal illness. And you know, he never complains. And he has a lot of reasons to complain, but he never complains. And he lost his son a long time ago, when I was a young boy -- my uncle. And he never complained. I talked to him on the phone and he was never talking about how tough it is. He was always just worried about other people, so I take that in my life.
“If he's not complaining, I have no reason to complain.
“I’ve got to be strong for my family. I’ve got to be strong for my kids and everybody -- and it's tough. You’ve just got to keep pushing on -- and understanding that gives me strength.
“You’ve just got to go through it and just love while you can, be there for your family while you can and hopefully, you live a long and healthy and happy life.
“But if not, you know, just enjoy the little moments.”
Good advice for us all.