Gary Trent Jr.’s Biggest Accomplishment of Late Has Nothing to Do With the Trail Blazers

Gary Trent Jr. is having the season of his life for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Trent, a third-year swingman from Duke, is in the midst of a breakout campaign. With CJ McCollum injured, Trent has filled in and trails only Damian Lillard in points per game among healthy Blazers.

That isn’t even close to being the most significant thing that Trent has accomplished in recent months. Away from the court, Trent is helping a lifelong friend after a severe accident.

Gary Trent Jr. is helping his friend through personal adversity

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The events of Feb. 10, 2018, changed Gary Trent Jr.’s life forever.

Before walking into a film session during his rookie year with the Trail Blazers, Trent learned that Jordan Bolton — a close friend and former high school teammate — suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident. Bolton, who was playing for Lake Region State College in North Dakota at the time, broke his neck and was paralyzed from the waist down. 

Trent Jr. visited Bolton a few weeks later. Over three years after the accident, Bolton is attending physical therapy with the goal to walk again, and Trent Jr. has given his emotional support.

In an interview with ESPN, Trent Jr. shared how Bolton’s experiences have impacted his own life.

“A lot of people are telling us it’s a miracle what he’s doing, they’ve never seen it before. For somebody to have an injury of that magnitude and you’re going to have a five percent chance to ever have feeling, and two years, three years later they are doing everything they said they couldn’t.”

Bolton said that Trent Jr. calls him daily to check in on his progress.

Bolton is making significant progress

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Gary Trent Jr. has reasons to be happy beyond the Portland Trail Blazers’ current playoff situation.

As of March 2021, Jordan Bolton has regained the use of his arms and the ability to sit up on his own. Bolton described his relationship with Trent Jr. when speaking to ESPN.

“I really can’t put into words how much of a great friend and guy he is. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that people don’t see, like calling me every day and making sure that I’m doing my workouts.”

Bolton remains in physical therapy as of publication.

Gary Trent Jr. is having a breakout year for the Blazers

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Everything’s coming up Gary Trent Jr.’s way at the right time.

Pressed into greater action this season, Trent Jr. ended play on March 1, 2021, averaging 15.5 points on 43.1% shooting from the field this year. The third-year swingman is also hitting 41.8% of his 3-pointers and making 75.6% of his free-throw shots.

Despite lacking CJ McCollum, who remains out with a foot injury, the Portland Trail Blazers held a 19-14 record at publication.

With the Jazz and Lakers still ahead of them in the standings, the Trail Blazers aren’t popular picks to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. Trent Jr. has kept the Trail Blazers alive and contending, though, and his presence could bode well for their chances.

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