It’s an image many in Rip City are familiar with: Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard arm in arm with protestors, crossing the Morrison Bridge, standing up for Black lives. In a recent episode of the Talkin’ Blazers podcast, Lillard spoke with Dan Sheldon regarding his experience, according to Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest.
“We were in quarantine and we were just in the house,” Lillard told Dan Sheldon on the Talkin’ Blazers podcast. “And you know it was viral, it was protests all over the country, and I was aware of the protests in Portland. Someone invited me to a protest in Lake Oswego, but I think it was like quiet. Nobody was really there, but it was really going down in Portland. Those people have been out there everyday marching. There was hundreds of people...
They were really standing their ground on it.”
Lillard knew he had to use his platform to draw attention to the protests, which swept the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
“Obviously being in the house all day, I’m really keeping up with on Twitter and Instagram and I’m seeing it,” Lillard said. “It just got to the point where I didn’t want to be another person saying I’m using my platform to bring awareness, speaking from the sideline. I wanted to be out there and be present. When I did go and protest, I was proud to be there. I was out there and everyone out there they didn’t look at it like Damian Lillard is here. It wasn’t an appearance. I think that I was a part of that movement...
There was tension in the air, and I was just proud to be a part of something that was beyond myself.”
In a reflection of the moment, the Trail Blazers have expanded their programming around Black History Month. You can read more about that here.