Hey! Whatever Happened To: Carlos Rogers

By Brian Taylor

This one goes out to all my Raptor fans out there!

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Carlos Rogers would become one of the cornerstones of Toronto’s new NBA team. In his college days at Tennessee State, the tall, lanky center would average somewhere around 23 points and almost 3 blocks per game. At 6’11”, Carlos led his team to the Ohio Valley title twice, both times landing the team in the “Big Dance”.

Coming out of college, Rogers was drafted 11th overall by the Seattle Supersonics, but was shipped to Golden State to shore up a bench that included Victor Alexander, Chris Gatling, and a newly traded Tom Gugliotta. With the glut of veterans on that team, Carlos was expendable, and was shipped to the Raptors for B.J. Armstrong. Most folks remember him for having long arms, being the Raps first ever SF, and a propensity for blocking shots, but also having a bit of an aloof nature about him. I remember him dying his hair bronze, and being good for a wacky quote every now and then.

In 1988, Carlos’ sister, Rene was diagnosed with Kidney failure, a condition that she managed to live with day by day, but still needed a kidney transplant to recover from. Carlos, showing the world that not all athletes are selfish, about stats and money, (see: Terrell Owens) made a decision that put life in perspective for everyone. He decided to retire from basketball, to give his sister a kidney.

Everyone knows about Sean Elliott’s ailment and Alonzo’s health problems, but this was possibly the only time ever a pro athlete was ready to give up a huge, salary, notoriety and a sport they loved to help someone out. This wasn’t donating money to a hospital or children’s fund; this was something that could’ve endangered Carlos as well. He was only one of ten siblings that had the genetic makeup to keep his sister alive, and he was willing to take that shot. Tragically, ‘Los never got his chance to help his sister out, as she passed away in January of 1997.

Stat wise, Carlos never really set the world on fire, his career averages of 7 points/4 rebounds per game don’t really stand out (he did have an eye-popping 7 blocks in a game against Orlando as a Raptor however). When he was healthy, he was productive, but being on the injured list year after year hurt his numbers. After stints with the Blazers and Rockets, Carlos played 22 games in Indiana before calling it quits in 2001.

With T.O. in Dallas having another temper tantrum, I found this Carlos Rogers article to be true, regarding athletes being role models and heroes. So when you get a minute, take a look.

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7 thoughts on “Hey! Whatever Happened To: Carlos Rogers

  1. Carlos Rogers was my favourite Raptor back when I was in high school and I loved his weekly sound bites, his passion for the game and his thunderous dunks. Something else that Carlos didn’t get a lot of credit for was his willingness to guard the person inbounding the ball after baskets. During his collegiate career Carlos gained some notoriety for being a shot blocker but he didn’t complain about needing to change his role with the Raps. Instead of pouting like most athletes would do he welcomed this role within the Raps defensive schemes and set career highs in steals and blocks in his second season with Toronto.

    Rogers was a class act on and off the court and I know he’s missed by many Raptors fans.

  2. Thanks for writing up this article, Brian.

    ‘Los really gave the young Raptors franchise a personality and a spark. But I’d much rather have wins over personality any day!

  3. If we have to split hairs, the current Raps don’t have wins or losses – it’s a blank slate. They can, therefore, potentially have wins.

    I don’t know who might be the personality of the team now. Pape Sow?

  4. Hello,

    I actually went to Northwestern High School with Carlos Rogers. I was a teacher’s assistant for the math teacher Walter Hamlett [not 100% sure of the teacher’s name] but, me and Ronneka McGhee [spelling?] were his assistants and, Richard, a blind student was also in this class. I remember Carlos as a very tall and lanky fellow but, very nice. Years later I was watching a basketball game as I am a HUGE Detroit Pistons fan and saw Carlos as a player for the Toronto Raptors. I was pleasantly surprised!!! It was nice to know that a young African American male raised in the Motor City, Carlos did something positive with his life. Even more touching was the sacrifice that he was willing to make for his sister although her premature death pre-empted his sincere, heartfelt intentions to donate one (1) of his kidneys to her I admire him for the sacrifice he was willing to make without any hesitation.

    Signed,

    A fellow Northwesten Colt
    Valencia D. Williams-Class of 1989

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