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Lillard Is Building A Legacy As Best Blazer Of All Time

While Rip City knows Damian Lillard is loyal to the soil, what does it mean to him as he works toward being the greatest?

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Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Damian Lillard has drawn a lot of attention recently for his high level of play for the injury-depleted Portland Trail Blazers. It has been Dame Time again and again, as he has taken it upon himself to finish close games in the final seconds, closing out a road trip 3-0. But beyond his incredible play, what does Portland mean to Lillard? For that matter, what does Lillard matter to Portland? Jason Quick of the Athletic argues that Lillard is building a strong case as the best Blazer of all time.

No, what sets him apart is what he so perfectly captured on Wednesday, when I asked him what he felt he needed to do to become the greatest Trail Blazer of all time. Keep in mind, this is not a passing fancy for Lillard. It is a notion he has studied for years and one he ultimately identified as a goal several years ago...

But if you dissect his answer, which was winding and nuanced, it gets right to the heart of why Lillard resonates so deeply with this fan base. Yeah, Walton and Drexler gave Portland the hardware. But did they give their heart?

“I don’t think being here meant the same to them,” Lillard said.

Rip City prizes loyalty, and Lillard has shown time and time again what the community means to him in turn. The love is mutual, and he is unafraid to say so.

“I don’t think a player before me had the same pride in putting this uniform on than I have,” Lillard said.

So, if Lillard is not yet the greatest Blazer of all time, what does he need to do to get there?

“I think I just need to continue to improve, continue to win games and eventually win a championship,” Lillard said. “I think if we win a championship, it’s a wrap.

“But I don’t think if we don’t win it that I won’t be the greatest Blazer of all time. I think I will be. I think I’m nearing that already.”

You can read Quick’s entire piece here (subscription required).