Candace Buckner of The Columbian takes a very nice look at Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard's upbringing in Oakland in advance of Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors in his hometown.
Lillard was small, no match on the block against his bulky brother Houston, Jr. Many of these one-on-ones devolved into wrestling matches, and Junior wouldn't let the runt win those either. But baby brother kept fighting.
"That's where his heart comes from -- he's fearless," says Houston Lillard, Jr., 26. "I mean, that boy is fearless. He's been like that. Even as a little kid."
Fearless, and competitive. In middle school, he got online to discover what all his teammates were talking about: an Oakland kid had made a national list of ranked players. But the name wasn't Damian Lillard.
"I can remember back in seventh grade when I really started to care about when I won or lost and if somebody was better than me," Lillard says. "When we started to see stuff like that, I think that's when it started -- it got serious.
"Every game I wanted to kill, then go look at the rankings. See if I move up or get on this list."
Here's the Mercury News on Lillard's return too.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter