Blazers G Damian Lillard To Compete In 5 Events At All-Star Weekend

Ronald Martinez

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been officially selected to compete in five different All-Star Weekend events, including the Slam Dunk Contest and the Three-Point Contest.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been officially selected to compete in five different All-Star Weekend events, including the Slam Dunk Contest and the Three-Point Contest.

The official announcements were made on TNT on Thursday. Lillard will become the first player in All-Star Weekend history to compete in five events during the same weekend. The 2014 All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 13-16 in New Orleans.

Earlier this month, Lillard was selected to the Rising Stars Challenge (formerly known as the Rookie/Sophomore Game) for the second straight season. The Rising Stars Challenge will take place on Friday, Feb. 14.

The teams for the event were drawn by TNT's Chris Webber and Grant Hill.

Team Webber: Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Michael Carter-Williams (Sixers), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Knicks), Trey Burke (Jazz), Jared Sullinger (Celtics), Mason Plumlee (Nets), Victor Oladipo (Magic), Steven Adams (Thunder), Kelly Olynyk (Celtics)

Team Hill: Lillard, Bradley Beal (Wizards), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Terrence Jones (Rockets), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors), Dion Waiters (Cavaliers), Pero Antic (Hawks)

Last week, Lillard was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference All-Star team, marking his first career appearance. The All-Star Game is set for Sunday, Feb. 16.

Lillard won the 2013 Skills Challenge and will defend his title this year against Trey Burke (Jazz), Reggie Jackson (Thunder), Goran Dragic (Suns), Michael Carter-Williams (Sixers), Victor Oladipo (Magic), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks).

Additionally, Lillard will compete in the Three-Point Contest for the first time, going against Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Joe Johnson (Nets), Arron Afflalo (Magic), Stephen Curry (Warriors), Marco Belinelli (Spurs) and Kevin Love (Timberwolves).

Finally, Lillard will make his first appearance in the Slam Dunk Contest, joining Paul George (Pacers), Terrence Ross (Raptors), John Wall (Wizards), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), and Ben McLemore (Kings).

The Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest will all take place on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Lillard discussed his busy weekend in an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today Sports.

"A lot of people don't get the opportunity," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports by phone."So I just felt like it was something that had never been done, and I'm capable of doing all the things that need to be done in all the competitions, so I figured why not go out and be the first one to do everything and get that experience?"

Further comments from Lillard can be found in this extensive piece by Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com.

"It wasn't something that I reached out for and I don't think the NBA kind of wanted me to do it from the jump either. I just think that, with me being in the All-Star Game and being a second-year player, so I have to play in the Rookie/Sophomore Game and winning Skills and wanting to shoot, it only makes sense to do them all."

...

"It's kind of like, I'm expanding as a brand, kind of opening more eyes to who I am," said Lillard. "Also, for the Trail Blazers. It'll always come back to my team. I think that's an opportunity for our team. It'll be more focused on our team."

Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett conducted a video interview with Lillard.

News of Lillard's various appearances has trickled out this week.

Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge was also selected to the Western Conference All-Star team, marking his third career selection.

The Blazers sent out this release on Thursday.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard will become the first player in NBA history to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, it was announced today by the league.

The Skills Challenge will be Lillard's first event of the night, followed by the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest.

"I'm excited to represent the Trail Blazers in the Rising Stars Challenge and my first NBA All-Star Game," said Lillard. "It's also an honor to be the first player to participate in three events at All-Star Saturday Night."

Lillard will defend his Skills Challenge title from last year in Houston, where he posted a time of 28.9 seconds in the final to take home the crown. The event challenges the NBA's top guards to work against the clock in a series of passes, free throws, layups and agility drills.

All-Star Saturday Night will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) on TNT, live from New Orleans Arena.

No Trail Blazer has ever won the Three-Point or Slam Dunk Contest. Previous Trail Blazers who've competed in the Three-Point Contest include Kiki Vandeweghe (1987), Clyde Drexler (1991), Terry Porter (1991, 1993) and Cliff Robinson (1996).

Lillard will join Drexler (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989), Jerome Kersey (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989), James Robinson (1994) and Rudy Fernandez (2009) as Trail Blazers who have participated in the Slam Dunk Contest over the years.

Last season's unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year, Lillard, 23, is averaging 20.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists to go with a 40.5% (140-for-346) mark from 3-point range. He leads all sophomores in scoring and assists, while ranking third in the NBA in 3-pointers made and 14th in scoring.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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