Portland Trail Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard is one of the biggest names in all of NBA – that has been the case for some time now. The same cannot be said about Portland, both as a franchise and a city in America.
As such, there have been endless suggestions throughout the years that Lillard is better off playing for a bigger market, where he can team up with other stars, attract more players to come, and open more off-the-court opportunities for himself.
The six-time All-Star has addressed this multiple times. Whenever it came up, he simply reiterated that he loves the city of Portland and the Blazers franchise, and that moving elsewhere doesn’t really pique his interest.
In a recent interview, however, Lillard went a bit deeper on the idea. Here’s what he told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
“For every person that says I want to see him on the bigger stage and I want to see him go to a bigger market, of course those places have pros but nobody ever wants to talk about the cons … If you take that step and you go somewhere and it’s not where it seems to be and it doesn’t work out … or an injury happens and you haven’t established as much rapport with that team and they choose one guy over the next guy and now you’re traded to a third team.”
It’s something that fans realize deep down, but since most are only looking at one perspective, many are quick to throw out trades and team-ups without evaluating the big picture. Of course, you also can’t knock anyone visualizing such things for someone like Lillard, whose style can be an interesting boost to plenty of other stars.
Later in the interview, Dame also shared his thoughts if he and the team somehow find themselves wanting to part ways. He brought up an interesting point again:
“It’s a lot of things you can’t control so you have to consider both sides … But for me, it would have to come down to my team saying, ‘Look, we’re going in a different direction. We don’t want to hold you hostage basically and what route do you want to go?’ I’m saying if everybody doesn’t think I can do it in Portland or we can’t win in Portland, what does it mean and what happens when we do? If we actually go and do it, where does that put me? Where does that put my legacy and where does that put my career?”
Such a mentality and loyalty to his team is rare these days. With social media being louder and more influential than ever, players on Lillard’s level are hounded by the idea that every single year is a “championship or bust” season, regardless if they have a good enough roster or organization behind them.
Lillard and the Blazers are currently roaming around the fifth and sixth spots in the Western Conference standings. They’ll return to action this coming Wednesday against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. Catch the game live at 11:00 AM, Manila time.