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YouTube Gold: The Great Rodney Rogers

The Durham Bull had a brilliant career at Wake Forest and in the NBA. His life took a major twist but he’s faced paralysis with optimism and strength.

Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings
SACRAMENTO, CA - 1997: Rodney Rogers #54 of the Los Angeles Clippers walks against the Sacramento Kings during a game circa 1997 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. 
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

During the Duke back-to-back run of 1991-92, Durham native Rodney Rogers dropped by Cameron for some pickup and was talking to Grant Hill. Christian Laettner passed by and, for whatever reason, supposedly shoved Hill.

“Do you want me to take care of that for you?” said Rogers.

Hill said it wasn’t necessary, that was just Laettner being Laettner.

And that was Rogers being Rogers. He’s basically a good-natured guy who was happy being with his friends or working on a motor or being outside but he was definitely not someone you wanted to get on the bad side of.

This video compares him to Zion Williamson which is close but not exactly right. Williamson is thicker and more athletic, but Rogers, in his day, was a powerful player who, like Williamson, thrived inside and consistently surprised people with his talent and intelligence.

In the NBA, as a 6-7 power forward, he had to adapt and also became a reliable three point shooter and was always valued as a teammate because people really appreciated his character.

Tragically, in 2008 he had an accident on an ATV that left him a quadriplegic (it’s commonly referred to as a dirt bike around the Web but we’re pretty sure it was an ATV, as this article from that week says).

Like anyone would have, he dealt with despair and depression after his accident, but characteristically, in hospitals and rehab he saw other people suffering and did what he could to help and ease their pain. He’s just a good man.

His daughter Roddreka, incidentally, is now an assistant coach at Butler.

We had thought about using another video before going with this one because the other one had a NSFW/kids sound track and we didn’t want to make anyone’s day more difficult. In that one, there was a video of Rogers juking 7-6 Shawn Bradley and dunking over him.

Tragically, Bradley had an accident himself earlier this year when a car hit him on his bicycle and he, too, is now paralyzed although we’re not sure how severely. One article suggested he was a paraplegic.

It wouldn’t surprise us to learn that Rogers had reached out to him. He’s a compassionate, immensely decent man. He says he hopes to walk again and if anyone could do that, it’s Rogers. We know you join us in wishing him the Durham Bull the very best.