With the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend approaching, it’s fitting to remember the weekend Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard made NBA history. In just his second season in the NBA, Lillard participated in each of the five All-Star events: the Rising Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, Dunk Contest and NBA All-Star Game. The feat was as unique as it was impressive, especially given Lillard’s status as an NBA sophomore. Lillard’s schedule for the 3-Point Contest and All-Star Game this weekend seems tame by comparison.
As the five-year anniversary of Lillard’s historic weekend in New Orleans approaches, let’s look back at how well he did.
Event 1: Rising Stars Challenge
First up for Lillard was the Rising Stars Challenge, which had dropped its old rookies vs. sophomore format, instead opting for a draft (Lillard was the No. 1 pick for Team Grant Hill). Lillard started for the eventual winners, putting in 13 points, five assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes of play.
For veteran Rising Stars Challenge viewers like myself, you’ll remember this game for the heated in-game battle between Dion Waiters and Tim Hardaway Jr.:
Event 2: Skills Challenge (and a split-second win!)
Following in the steps of experimentation, the Skills Challenge used a tag-team format in 2014, pairing players with a teammate as opposed to solo events of years past.
Lillard and teammate Trey Burke finished the first round in the fastest time, advancing to the final to play against East representatives Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams.
Their East counterparts went first, posting a time of 45.3. Lillard slightly struggled on his run but Burke came to the rescue by speeding through his run and finishing the course in 45.2 seconds to secure a mere 0.1-second victory:
Event 3: Three-Point Contest
The 3-point Contest was a little less memorable for Lillard. He finished with 18 and was eliminated in the first round:
Event 4: Dunk Contest
The 2014 Dunk Contest was marred by a confusing team-based, conference-based format. An opening “freestyle” round featured dunkers from each conference dunking like it was a pregame shootaround. The second round was a head-to-head dunk battle between a player from each conference.
Lillard took on Terrence Ross, with Ross winning his round. The East won the Dunk Contest with three battle wins to the West’s zero. It was a mess, as Ben Golliver wrote for Sports Illustrated.
Event 5: All-Star Game
Finally, Lillard closed out his weekend with his first appearance in the All-Star Game. He and Blazer teammate LaMarcus Aldridge both represented Portland down in New Orleans.
Lillard played about nine minutes, scoring nine points (all on 3-pointers).
Will you be watching Lillard this weekend in the 3-Point Contest or All-Star Game? How do you think he’ll do? Let us know in the comments.