Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard is a professional basketball player from Oakland, California who currently plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. Throughout his career, Lillard has earned the reputation of being one of the most clutch and loyal players in the NBA. Many players stray from playing small markets such as Portland, Oregon, but Lillard embraces it and is considered one of the most respected NBA players. Lillard is a bonafide leader and is the engine behind the locker room culture of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lillard has leveraged his success on the basketball court into some lucrative sponsorships. He has released six editions of his signature sneakers with Adidas which are called the "Dame" series. Most recently, though, he was made the cover athlete of the current generation version of the most popular basketball simulation video game, NBA 2k21.
In college, Lillard accrued a slash line of 24.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 steals. Dame has not skipped a beat during his professional career. Throughout his eight-year career, he has averaged 24.1 points per game, 4.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.0 steal on 45.9 field goal percentage and 37.2 three point percentage.
The pinnacles of Lillard's NBA career up to this point have been his two series-ending buzzer beaters in the playoffs. In 2014, only his second professional season, Lillard hit a three-point shot with only .9 seconds left to lift the Blazers over the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. This shot is significant because the series win marked the first time the Blazers won a playoff series in 14 years. Lillard somehow one-upped this shot in the 2019 playoffs. At the end of Game 5 versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, Lillard hit an absurd shot from 37 feet from the basket to send the Thunder home and forced them to dismantle their team.
Damian Lillard has performed well enough throughout his basketball career to earn many awards and accolades for his craft. During his collegiate career at mid-major college Weber State, Lillard took the Big Sky by storm. Throughout his four-year career with the Wildcats, Lillard won Big Sky Player of the Year twice, once in 2010 and again in 2012. In 2017, Lillard became only the third player in the history of the program to have his number retired by the university.
These awards continued to rack up during his professional career in the NBA. After his rookie season in 2012-13, he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award and placed on the All-Rookie First Team. He has been voted an All Star five times in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Lillard was named to the All-NBA First Team once in 2018, the Second Team twice in 2016 and 2019, and the Third Team once in 2014.
Damian Lillard was born to Houston and Gina Lilard on July 15, 1990. He has two siblings, a brother named Houston and a sister named Lanae. In 2008, he graduated from Oakland High School with no scholarship offers, leading him to play at Weber State University where he thrived. He has one son, Damian Jr., with his girlfriend since college, Kay'La Hanson.
One of the biggest facets of Lillard's life off the court is his budding rap career. After starting "4-Bar Friday" where fans could show off their rapping skills to be featured on Dame's Instagram. He further extended his reach into the hip-hop scene in 2016 with his debut album, The Letter O. Since his first full-length album, Lillard has released two records, CONFIRMED in 2017 and then Big D.O.L.L.A. in 2019.
Damian Lillard played for the Oakland Rebels AAU team in high school. Lillard stayed true to this team over the superior team in the Oakland AAU scene, the Oakland Soldiers, when people started noticing how skilled of a player he was. He wanted to keep grinding with the team that gave him his first shot at the competitive basketball scene. This move is a testament to Lillard's loyalty that he has displayed throughout his career in the NBA.
Unfortunately for Trail Blazers fans, the location and small market of Portland does not entice many great basketball players to play in Portland, Oregon. The Blazers consistently have the longest travel in the league, and the Portland climate is not the best to many. Despite these factors, Dame's loyalty makes him indebted to the Portland Trail Blazers organization, and he wants to bring a championship to the Blazers.
In the summer of 2020, NBA veteran Earl Watson revealed that some players tried to court Lillard for a super team. Super teams have become the norm in the current "player empowerment" era of the NBA where players bounce around teams, trying to find a group that can win a championship. Before he signed his four-year supermax contract in the summer of 2019, Lillard denied this request and reiterated his commitment to the Trail Blazers and how he does not want to take the easy road to a championship.
Damian Lillard has accrued eleven 50-point games throughout his eight-year career in the NBA. This great accomplishment ranks tied for 8th all-time, and he is third among active players behind James Harden and LeBron James. Lillard's first 50-point game came in February of 2016 when he scored 51 points on the Golden State Warriors in a winning effort by the score of 137-105.