Damian Lillard was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the sixth pick in the 2012 draft and Portland is where he’s stayed for the past six years. It’s where he will continue to stay.
The four-time All-Star point guard is one of the league’s best, averaging 23.5 points per game over his career along with 6.3 assists. The Trail Blazers have made the playoffs five of his six years, but haven’t made it past the second round in an era of superteams.
Yet the 28-year-old hasn’t asked to get out of Portland to make one, and he shared why that is with Yahoo’s Chris Haynes on the Posted Up podcast.
“I do want to win a championship but it’s other stuff that means more to me. It’s almost like I’m not willing to sell myself out for that.”
Lillard told Haynes he’s in a position with Portland where he’s valued and can achieve individual success. He’s also started to appreciate those around him, from coaches to trainers to teammates, and what one ripple can do throughout an organization.
“Obviously we all play to win a championship. I want to win a championship. I compete to win a championship. But I’ve learned that it’s about so many other things, the relationships, the impact that you have on other people and their lives, and the impact that you can have on their careers. So, for me, I enjoy that.”
Lillard gave the scenario where if he were to ask out, it would “ruin stuff for other people,” such as moving players to other teams — gutting the roster to rebuild, for example — or waiving players, thereby potentially ending a career. That all doesn’t only impact a player, but an entire family, he pointed out.
“And it could affect too many people for one. Two, you can go somewhere else and you’re not guaranteed to win a championship.
So, I mean for reasons like that, I’m just like man, I’m more into where I am as a person, you know, the relationships and the impact that it could have on people … When my career is over I’m going to know the relationships that I’m going to have, I’m going to know the people who knew I was solid with them regardless if it was at the top or if i controlled all this stuff that I did it the right way, that I took people’s situations and their families and what could be into consideration before I just made a decision based off all right this is what would be best for me. This is what people want to see me do.”
The Trail Blazers (34-23) are fourth in the Western Conference, again en route to a playoff spot. Lillard is averaging 26.3 points, 6.4 assists and 4.5 rebound a game.
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