NBA SUPERSTAR DAMIAN LILLARD
The NBA’S most clutch player and greatest rapper is also an endorsement machine who last year earned as much as Oprah and Paul Mccartney.
When did you decide to start bombing from way behind the three-point line in games?
In [ 2018] New Orleans swept us in the playoffs. It was an embarrassing series. I got with my trainer to address things I could improve. I’ve always been able to shoot deep, but we took it to another level. Our training was there’s the NBA three-point line, then we had a four-point line. We would do a whole workout from the four-point line. We just kept building it up, and over the years it’s become easier and easier. Here we are now.
You and Stephen Curry have been called the most exciting guys in the NBA. Do you feel more rivalry or camaraderie with Curry?
More camaraderie. This day and age everything is a comparison. If I shoot a deep three, people are like, “Oh, that’s Logo Lillard!” Then it’s like, “Nah, Steph started doing it first.” People make it a rivalry. But when me and Steph speak, we cool, you know? I appreciate him, I think he appreciates me.
I don’t know if I got much room left. I don’t want to tattoo my legs, and I don’t want to tattoo my neck. And my back, that’s a painful spot, so I might be done.
Forrest Gump definitely had an impact on me.
Do you mix outdoor sports into your fitness routine?
During quarantine, me and my fiancée started going on bike rides. When she said, “Let’s get some bikes,” I was thinking, you know, Mongoose bikes. But we went to this bike store. I didn’t know bikes were this expensive.
How much did you spend?
My bike was $2,500. It’s an electric bike. It’s crazy because I didn’t even know these kind of bikes existed, but I like it a lot.
Bill Walton famously rode his bike to Blazers games. The discussion in Portland these days is greatest Blazer: Walton, Drexler, or Dame?
It’s great company to be in. I always say I don’t think anybody that’s played here has taken more pride than me in putting on the Trail Blazers uniform and wanting to get it done for this city and our fans. And the numbers are there. I think by the time I’m done, I will be the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.
Your loyalty to small markets—oakland, Ogden, Portland—has made you beloved nationally. Do you carry that small-town attitude with you?
I do carry that with me, but it’s not like I’m doing it on purpose. What it comes down to is I don’t view myself as a big deal. I’m aware of everything that’s happening, the endorsements and playing in the All- Star Game and being on the cover of video games. But it’s hard to look at that and be full of myself when my relationships and people around me—my cousins, mom, childhood friends, brother—all feel normal.
Like Forrest Gump?
I feel like Forrest Gump! This dude was an all-american football player, came up with “shit happens,” and invested in Apple in 1994, and all this stuff but he just wanted to mow the lawn for free, you know what I’m saying? And it wasn’t like he was trying to play no role, it was just like this is who he is. He didn’t view himself like everybody else did. And I think that’s what it is for me.