Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is known for giving back to fans and the community. Recently, he received the NBA’s Community Assist Award for his RESPECT program that focuses on attendance and graduation rates at local Portland high schools.
After the news of Lillard’s win, Portland Tribune columnist Kerry Eggers shared two stories about Lillard’s interactions with fans that show why he’s an example-setting person and player:
Then there are the things the public doesn’t hear about, and that Lillard — and the Blazers’ public-relations staff — don’t publicize.
I know of two such instances.
Before a home game a year ago, Lillard met with an 8-year-old girl from a small coastal town who had posters of him on her bedroom wall. The family was awestruck as he made small talk with the girl, signed an autograph, posed for a photo and was given a bracelet the girl had made for him.
Prior to the Philadelphia game on Dec. 30, Lillard was introduced to Jonathan Casey, the oldest of five children of former Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey. Jon, who is autistic, has idolized Lillard for years. His face lit up when Lillard approached with a smile for a courtside handshake, a few words and a photo.
You can read more from Eggers’ piece here.