Andrew Greif of Dime Magazine has posted his cover story on Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard.
Jimmy Durkin, a reporter at the Oakland Tribune, has covered prep sports there since Lillard's older brother, Houston, was a football standout. He saw Damian's game take shape amid a "chaotic" atmosphere. "That tends to boil onto the court," says Durkin. "The fact he was pretty calm during some of those games, when what's going on in the bleachers is almost chaos. The atmosphere is almost through the roof. The fact he was always pretty calm and collected in a chaotic situation speaks to the player he is."
Playing in those Oakland Athletic League gyms may be one reason why Lillard, now moving with the photoshoot into the Trail Blazers' weight room, nearly comes to a full stop in his adidas Crazy 8 sneakers when asked if he's ever played scared.
"Nervous maybe, but not scared," Lillard says. He's wearing a white T-shirt whose slogan - "Don't Doubt Me" - seems laughable just months after his four seasons in the Big Sky Conference was an asterisk to many. "I'm not scared to play nobody."
"He was always kind of like that," says Durkin. "He always seemed to be, even in high school, a pretty mature player. I remember one of their league rivals, McClymonds, went 32-0 and won the state title. They faced off three times and nearly played in the Nor Cal title game for a fourth matchup. In a regular-season game McClymonds won on a three-pointer and he just said, ‘We're going to see them again.'"
A few weeks back we noted that Lillard was on Dime's cover.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter