clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Damian Lillard Finds Refuge in Rap

New, comments

USA Today's Sam Amick profiles Portland's star guard as he reveals one of the foundations of his identity.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

USAToday's Sam Amick has published wonderful profile of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and his passion for rap.

While the idea of a basketball star rapping might be passé (thanks, Shaq!) the thrust of Amick's article is that for Lillard, this is more than a sideline or passing fancy.

"A lot of people might think, 'Oh he's a basketball player and he's rapping? That's so cliché,' " said Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, a 41-year-old mentor of Lillard's who, as an owner of the Sugar Hill Gang's original Rapper's Delight vinyl, fancies himself an expert on such musical matters. "But he's no joke. He's a rapper who plays basketball, in my opinion."

As with his basketball career, Lillard is already proving himself a student of the game.

"When I listen to music, I listen for the substance, I listen to the bars, I listen to the beat, and I try to paint a picture with everything that I hear in music," said Lillard, who routinely researches the meaning of words that he hears for the first time as a way to increase his vocabulary. "Whether it's R&B, rap, jazz, country, whatever it is, I try to paint a picture.

Amick also portrays Lillard's deep-seeded motivations and authenticity:

As is the case with most good storytellers, there is a substance that comes with Lillard that makes him relatable to the masses. His stories - like that haunting memory of a night in 2008 when three men robbed him at gunpoint at the Eastmont bus station after his practice with the Oakland High School team - aren't embellished.

There's far more to the article, including Lillard's relationship with his hometown, his friends, and his new-found fame. It's definitely worth checking out.