Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is the subject of the latest ESPN Cover Story — entitled “As Real As It Gets” by Marc Spears — that goes in-depth on Lillard as a person, his motivations and dreams, and his rap career. Spears provides a deeper look at how Lillard operates and why he gives back to his community.
Lillard, on the topic of legacy, says that he is captivated by the way Dirk Nowitzki will be remembered and respected in Dallas:
“He just stayed with it,” he’ll say. “I respect what Dirk did. Like, I see that and I’m like, ‘It’ll be worth it. I know it was worth it for him,’ you know what I’m saying? Like, he’ll be forever, ever, ever respected in Dallas and in the league. So that’s like what I see from myself.”
Spears also covers Lillard’s upbringing in East Oakland and his effort to improve the area through things like his annual picnic. At this picnic it’s easy to tell how much Lillard cares about his hometown:
All the while, Lillard shook hands with folks from the neighborhood and took pictures with kids, signed autographs and reunited with old friends. He wanted people from home to still touch him. And he wanted to touch them too. He thinks about “people’s everyday lives, like the struggle that they might have every single day,” he says. And about how “something like this brings a light.”
And while Lillard is committed to the Blazers, head coach Terry Stotts says that hasn’t made him complacent in his desire to win a championship:
“Don’t underestimate how badly he wants to win a championship,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts says. “He doesn’t change teams to supposedly do that. He thinks we can do it in Portland.”
There’s many more details on Lillard, both the person and player, in Spears’ article, which you should check out here.