Brian Grant is a sight to behold at first glance. His dread-locks, tattoos and 6-foot-9, 260-pound presence make him a unique and imposing figure. As ferocious a competitor as you will ever find on the basketball hardwood, Grant is equally as gentle and charitable off the court. This bright, well-rounded individual is as diverse as any professional athlete you will ever encounter.
Born on March 5, 1972, Grant was brought up in the small, rural farm town of Georgetown, Ohio. It was in Georgetown where Grant molded his values into hard work, determination and helping others. Called the "Heart and Soul" of the Portland Trail Blazers by coaches and teammates alike, as well as "the hardest working cat in the NBA" by NBA All-Star and NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, Brian Grant operates at one speed whether it is on the court or off the court - full speed ahead.
Brian Grant, who said he "couldn't consistently make a lay-up" in high school, showed his grit and determination and rose from a relatively anonymous high-school career at Georgetown High School to become the two-time Midwestern Collegiate Conference Player of the Year with the Xavier University Musketeers in Cincinnati, Ohio. Grant would begin work on molding himself into the player he is today by building a reputation for staying for hours after practice each day working with assistant coaches.
Grant's second season with the Trail Blazers, the lockout shortened 1998-99 NBA season, was the "Rasta Monsta's" official coming out party. Appearing in 48 out of 50 games, Grant grabbed an average of 9.8 boards per game, which ranked him 12th in the NBA in rebounding. He had a career high of 24 rebounds against Golden State on February 20th, the most by a Portland player since Hall of Famer Bill Walton's 26 rebounds in December, 1977. Grant also had a remarkable four game stretch during the 1998-99 campaign in which he hauled down 70 rebounds - just over 17.5 per game. Grant also led the Blazers to their first Pacific Division title since 1991.
Grant was even more impressive during the 1999 NBA Playoffs as he lead his team to the Western Conference finals. Throughout the 1999 NBA Playoffs, Grant's reputation as a relentless workhorse increased even more as he waged well publicized battles with Tom Gugliotta and the Phoenix Suns in round one, Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz in the conference Semi-Finals and Tim Duncan and the San Antionio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Grant was one of Portland's top performers in the playoffs averaging 9.2 rebounds and scoring 13.2 points with a team-high of 1.23 blocks in 37.1 minutes per game.
Brian Grant has also built a stellar reputation for giving back to the community. His Foundation assists the families or seriously and terminally ill children, as well as the disadvantaged.
A few of the activities Grant has involved himself with include providing Thanksgiving dinners for the underprivileged in Portland and Sacramento, adopting underprivileged families for Christmas, starting a "Scholastic Attendance Program" and organizing a bone marrow drive to try to save the life of a 16-year-old Portland boy. Grant also spends considerable time at children's hospitals visiting sick children as Grant himself remembers what it was like to be hospitalized with pneumonia as a youth. Grant also serves as the Oregon and Southwest Washington spokesperson for Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Brian Grant Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities team up each year to raise money for children and their families. The highlight of Brian Grant's career in the NBA was when he was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for the 1998-99 season. The award is presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA) to an NBA player, coach or trainer in recognition of outstanding community service and charitable work.
The tattoos, dread-locks, chiseled body and warm smile also make Grant a marketable man in the corporate and media worlds. Grant has endorsement deals with McDonald's, AT&T, Sega, The Cintas Corporation, Godfather's Pizza and G.I. Joe's Sports and Auto stores. He has also appeared in the basketball-comedy motion picture "Eddie", featuring Whoppi Goldberg.
Nicknamed "The Rasta Monsta" by Portland fans for his intensity on the hardwood as well as his dread-locked hair style, Grant has been featured in such national media publications as Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, SPORT magazine and MAXIM magazine. He has also been featured on national TV features on "The NBA on NBC", "The NBA on TNT", "The Last Word with Jim Rome" and "Inside Stuff". Grant became the only NBA player to ever co-host "Inside Stuff" with Ahmad Rashad during the 1999 Playoffs when he put his Communications degree to work and turned broadcaster for a day.
Family life is essential to Grant the man and Brian can be found spending his free time with his family in Portland, Oregon.
Without a doubt, when Brian Grant sets his sights on achieving a goal, there is nothing that can stand in his way. His combination of passion and compassion make him a force that will be heard from for a long time to come.