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Ball Don't Lie

Damian Lillard is afraid of historic statues

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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LaMarcus Aldridge stands perfectly still, creeping out Damian Lillard (Sam Forencich/ Getty).

After only a few short months of play, Portland Trail Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard looks capable beyond his years. While his defense still needs work, Lillard has shown himself to be a dynamic offensive talent and the current frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors. He'll be a building block for the Blazers for a long time to come.

However, Lillard has a lot of growing up to do. Like, say, not being afraid of "historic statues." From two tweets on his Twitter account (via TBJ):

I like DC. I wana come back and visit the memorials even though I'm scared of statues

People I'm only scared of historic statues. Abraham Lincoln , MLK, etc . Had a bad experience at the wax museum lmao

Later, Lillard explained his fear to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt:

He has trouble pinpointing the exact time he fretted seeing statues and monuments but said the uneasy feeling was palpable during a visit to a wax museum two summers ago before his senior season at Weber State.

"The last room was Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln — all these big-time historic people, and it looked just like them. Same size," he said. "They had music playing in the room to set the mood, and it just threw me off."

"Ever since then I've done. Even at Lake Oswego (near Portland), I drive past the cemetery, and there's a statue of Jesus with his hands up. That even scared me. I don't mess with statues no more.

"It's the idea that they're from so far back, and so big in our history. Just to see something that looks so close to them, it's weird. It freaks me out."

Driving through D.C. Tuesday night with monuments lit up, "was crazy. All I could think of was Abraham Lincoln getting killed," Lillard said.

I would really like to know which mood-setting music the wax museum played to throw off Lillard. My guess is that it was not Paul Anka.

Now, it bears mentioning that Lillard is not the only young basketball player to hold on to childhood fears or habits. LeBron James, for instance, still bites his nails, and everyone pretty much agrees that he's now an adult winner who really understands what it takes to be a true professional. Lillard can still succeed despite being scared that the statue at the Jefferson Memorial will detach itself from its base and start terrorizing the nation for not upholding the founding principles of the republic.

And can you really blame Lillard for being afraid? Wax museums are terrifying as a general rule, even when the original person seemed perfectly kind. Yes, Albert Einstein helped develop the atomic bomb, but he also helped Tim Robbins and Meg Ryan fall in love! He should look nice, not like this.

Whatever the case, I hope Lillard can face his fears soon and overcome his issues. I can't imagine what it's like to consider the "Night at the Museum" movies as tales of horror.

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