Damian Lillard and Adidas shoes have had a long and fruitful relationship, through six iterations of a signature shoe and countless drooled-over colorways. This week The Undefeated chronicled the backstory behind the collaboration, synchronized to his personality and play.
Aaron Dodson picks up the story against the Orlando Magic in October of 2018, when Lillard had an uncharacteristically bad first half, including a couple of badly-missed free throws. This brought the attention of a heckler in the stands:
“I don’t really miss free throws like that,” Lillard — now a four-time All-Star, whom the Trail Blazers drafted in 2012 out of mid-major Weber State University — recalled. “The dude on the sideline was like, ‘ … What is Weber State? … You’re not an All-Star! … You missing free throws and you’re not gonna show up!’ … He just was like nonstop. It was like he just came to the arena knowing he was going to be on my case. I kind of wasn’t paying him no mind … but as the half went on, he just seemed like he was just getting louder and louder.”
In true Lillard fashion, Dame crushed the second half, setting a franchise high for points in that span. After the performance, and the victory, he sat down with Adidas executives.
“When we sat down with him after that game and we were talking to him, he just said, ‘Hecklers get dealt with,’ ” Jimi Taylor, a senior footwear designer for Adidas Basketball, said. “And straight away, we were like, ‘Hecklers get dealt with’ … that’s incredible.”
That became the inspiration for his next signature shoe. As the article details, the hits haven’t stopped dropping. Check out more about Dame and Adidas at The Undefeated.