For the second time in his career, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard wins Harry Glickman (Male) Professional Athlete of the Year at the Oregon Sports Awards. The award is annually given to a professional athlete that has an Oregon background or that has played on an Oregon team in the calendar year. Lillard previously won after a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection in 2013.
Lillard averaged a career-high 25.1 points and 6.8 assists per game, leading the Trail Blazers to not only a surprising playoff berth, but a competitive second round series with the Golden State Warriors, eventually earning All-NBA second team honors.
The full list of Trail Blazers to win the award includes:
- LaMarcus Aldridge (2015)
- Brandon Roy (2007, 2008, 2009)
- Damon Stoudamire (1996)
- Cliff Robinson (1993)
- Clyde Drexler (1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
- Terry Porter (1990)
- Buck Williams (1990)
- Bill Walton (1977, 1978)
- Geoff Petrie (1971, 1973)
- Sidney Wicks (1972)
Fanendo Adi of the Portland Timbers and decathlete Ashton Eaton were also nominated for this year’s honor. Terry Porter and Gary Payton presented the award, and although Lillard was not present to receive it, he did prepare a response thanking everyone who made his selection possible:
"I just want to say thanks to the Oregon Sports Awards for selecting me as the Harry Glickman Pro Athlete of the Year. It’s truly an honor for me; especially for someone like Mr. Glickman that I have such a tremendous amount of respect for, the founder of our great organization and continued supporter to this day. It’s truly an honor to be a part of an organization when someone who is still passionate about it is still interested in the growth of the product and what we are today.
I also got to give thanks to my coaches who put in the time with me and my teammates every day and make sure that we continued to grow as people and as players and continue to push this organization and be the kind of team that we were this season, my teammates who I’m actually going to war with—those guys play a huge part in what I am able to accomplish as an individual—so I’m thankful to my coaches and my teammates.
I want to give thanks to the Rip City fans. You guys are so huge to what we get done here. You guys truly make a difference in every home game—even road games—through your impact through social media, so we really thank you guys as a team. I thank you guys personally because it does mean a lot and you guys do make a difference for us.
And last but not least, I want to thank my family and my friends because without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I would have never had the drive, the motivation to continue to working and work toward my dreams, and get to this position. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give thanks to all those people, and once again, I just want to say thanks for selecting me as the winner."