Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard visited the set of NBA TV for a conversation with Vince Cellini, Dennis Scott and Patrick Ewing on Wednesday evening.
Here's the video via YouTube user portlandtrailblazers. A transcript is below.
Balancing scoring and play-making as a point guard
I kind of had to get to used to my teammates. I knew guys like Wes [Matthews] and Nic [Batum] run hard in transition and want to shoot threes. I knew if I got those guys going early in the game, got [LaMarcus Aldridge] going early in the game, teams would loosen up on me. That's when I would attack and make them pay for loosening up the defense.
Chip on shoulder
I came into the Draft process with a huge chip on my shoulder just because of the situation I come from. I'm from Oakland, I didn't get recruited heavily out of high school, I went to a mid-major at Weber State, I didn't get a lot of attention until my last year in school. I felt like I had a lot to prove. Once I did that, I started to get some respect. I got drafted sixth overall, and I knew it was up to me to make something of it. I had a huge chip because of the situation I came from.
Remaining loyal to Weber State
It got to the point where I was getting some attention nationwide, I was leading the nation in scoring, my team was playing well, people started to think I was going to leave my school for a bigger school just because they had a bigger name. I knew I wouldn't do that because of the loyalty that I grew up on. My family really put that inside of me. I knew I could get where I wanted to get to from the school I was at. I stayed there, I stuck it out and I made it here.
Who did you emulate as a child?
I didn't really try to emulate anybody. I was a fan of a lot of guys, especially [Gary Payton], because he was from Oakland and he showed people the toughness from Oakland, a little bit of trash talk, the competitiveness, the fire. I was a big fan of Allen Iverson too because he was close to my size, he could score the ball. As a kid, I could score. I was thin, I was short but I could score the ball. He kind of gave me hope.
Do you talk trash like Gary Payton?
Nah, I'm not a big trash talker. That same fire that he has inside of him, I've got that in me too.
I thought Steph should have been an All-Star this season. Especially because of how well his team is playing. I think he's the reason they made it this far. He can really score the ball, matching up against him, he can get you off balance, he can raise up and shoot an any time and from anywhere. I think his ability to pass the ball is underrated. He's really leading his team right now.
Who do you need to rest up for, Curry or Tony Parker?
Both of them. Maybe a little more for Steph because he's younger, he scores the ball. He's explosive. He can come out in the third quarter with seven points and by the fourth quarter he's got 35. I think he's really explosive scoring the ball and he can pass.
Getting ready for match-ups against these point guards
It's a lot of film, actually. Scouting reports, some people look at them, some don't. I actually do because I want to see what they've been doing. But I think film is the biggest thing for me because i get to see how they're doing it, how they like to score, what time of the game do they try to be aggressive, when will they try to get their teammates involved. For me, it's just going out there matching up with them, not let them outplay me, go out there and compete with the opposite point guard.
You wanted to be a professional wrestler as a kid
I was a big time wrestling fan. I watched it every Monday and Thursday, WCW and WWF. I saw every show, every pay per view. As a kid that's what I wanted to do because I was so infatuated by it. As I got older, I started to see some things that didn't rub me the same way as when I was a kid. That's when I fell more in love with sports.
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