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Transcript: Blazers G Damian Lillard Joins Jim Rome Show

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard joined the Jim Rome show on Monday morning.

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Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard joined the Jim Rome show on Monday morning. An audio link is here.

Here's a transcript. The interview ended somewhat abruptly when Lillard's fear of statues was brought up.

Loss to Orlando, bouncing back

I think the biggest thing is just moving on. Any time you think about a bad shooting night, any time something didn't go well, it tends to carry over and I might have another night like that because I'm thinking about what happened in Orlando. We play so many games, it's an 82-game season so there's a quick opportunity to come out and have a better shooting night.

NBA schedule compared to college

I think the NBA season is a lot tougher because of how much we travel. We might play a home game and the next day we're in New York and the next day we're somewhere else. The travel and playing against the best players in the world. I'm playing a lot of minutes so it's a lot tougher than college. I think some people underestimate the grind of a college season. Less games but you practice hard every day. Less travel but it's still pretty tough. I think the NBA is a way bigger challenge.

Travel taking a toll

It does. You fly until one in the morning or two in the morning and then you have a game the day that you land. It's tough to get up for it because you really don't have time to recover sometimes. The charter flights are a lot better than getting on a normal flight, we're lucky. People will want pictures and autographs, charter flights make it easier on us but it's still a flight and we still have to get up and play that next day on a back-to-back. It's just tough.

LaMarcus Aldridge called this a make or break trip

Coming in, I knew it was a big trip for us. It could take us in either direction. We could drop under .500 or we could keep our heads above water. I don't think it will break us but I think if we can get these next two wins it will be great momentum for us going into the All-Star break.

Miami game

It's really big for us. It will be tough because of how well they are playing. If we can get that one that would put us at 2-3 on this trip, going into New Orleans, which I think is a winnable game. Every game is, but that's a very winnable game. If we could finish this road trip out .500, 3-3, we would be a game above .500, we'd be sitting pretty.

What were you thinking when buried on the bench at a private high school

I was getting nervous because I was a really big fan of college basketball, I wanted to play in the NBA, that was everybody's dream. I started to see it slip away from me because I wasn't getting into the game at all. Sometimes I would play two or three minutes or other times I wouldn't see the floor. It was tough for me, because everywhere I had been, I wasn't always the best player, but I played.

My parents, here they are paying money they don't have for me to go to school and I'm not getting the opportunity to play. It put me in a tough spot. I just knew that I wouldn't let myself back down to that challenge. I left the school, went back to a public school and I found my place.

Why were you under the radar after success at Oakland High?

I just think because of the area I was in, it's not a big time area with a lot of top prospects. I didn't play on a well known AAU team. I didn't get the recognition, but it didn't bother me. All I wanted to do was get a scholarship. I got some schools to recruit me, a couple of schools offered me. I just figured whichever school it was, I was going to make the most of the opportunity. I was just blessed to get a scholarship to Weber State. I think my time there was well spent. They helped develop me as a person and a player. I was able to get drafted.

Transition from Oakland to Ogden

The type of person I am, Ogden really fit me. It was a laid back city, really good people. I met a lot of friends there. I was comfortable as soon as I got there. I had really good relationships with my coaches. It was a lot slower than I was used to but it fit my style and personality. I enjoyed my time there.

Broke your foot

For about a week, I pouted. I was feeling sorry for myself because I had never had a real serious injury. At this time I was thinking about the NBA, I was finally performing and the scouts are noticing, and you break your foot. I pouted for a little bit and then after a week or a week and a half I met with my coaches and we developed a plan for what I could do to get better while I was hurt.

I started doing ball-handling work in a chair, shot from a chair, lifting weights six days a week, watched film of every game I had played at Weber State. I came up with a list of things I needed to do better based off of what I saw and my coach did the same thing. The summer when I was recovering, we broke it all down, worked on those things and I got better at them.

Being afraid of historic statues

I was at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas. I'm walking in the wax museum seeing all the celebrities and I happened to walk into the last room and there's the dead presidents. Martin Luther King. Really huge icons. The Jesus statues and all that kind of gave me shivers. When I saw those people and the music that was playing, it just didn't sit right with me. When I see statues, it kind of bothers me.

It's kind of a freaky place

Right. It's tough.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter