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Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum Discuss Their Relationship, Goals

Chris Haynes of ESPN interviews the guards together over dinner, catching unforgettable exchanges on video.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum drive the Portland Trail Blazers. Not only are they the most talented players on Portland’s roster, they’re behind every franchise hope of success in the current era, with no other teammates coming close. ESPN’s Chris Haynes recorded a rare video interview with both guards together, discussing playing with each other, their mutual history and admiration, and their quest for success.

A clip of the interview, which ran on ESPN’s SportsCenter, appears on the mother ship website. Quotes are below the tweet.

On adapting to each other’s games:

Lillard: We come from similar situations, as far as going to a small school and having to carry a load for our college teams. Eventually we became teammates and it made it easier, because we didn’t have to try to force anything.

On speculation that two similar players can’t share the court:

Lillard: I’m 100% confident in what I can do. I know that in this league, if you really want to win, you’re going to need other good players. You’re going to need people who can dominate a game just like you can dominate a game.

On exceeding expectations, including those of Haynes, which led to a hilarious back-and-forth between guards and interviewer, followed by McCollum answering the question straight.

McCollum: The proof is in the pudding. This is my fifth year in the league and this is going to be our fifth year making the playoffs...

...Getting more wins, getting 50 wins consistently, getting out of the first round, getting out of the second round, I think once you consistently do those things, then your perception changes a lot.

There’s a ton more in the 4-minute clip, which manages to convey relaxed humor and dead seriousness at the same time.