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Damian Lillard Talks Clutch Shooting, Blazers Loyalty, Forrest Gump

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Portland’s All-Star dives into cinema with Chuck Thompson of Men’s Journal

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

You already know Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard likes logo-three-pointers, clutch shooting, and producing rap music. Did you know he also likes biking and draws inspiration from Forrest Gump? Chuck Thompson of Men’s Journal gleaned those gems, and a few others, in a wide-ranging interview with the All-NBA regular.

In the piece, Lillard talks about developing his now-famous ultra range almost like it was a superhero origin story.

In (2018), New Orleans swept us in the playoffs. It was an embarrassing series. I got with my trainer to address things I could improve to make the game a little bit easier for myself. I’ve always been able to shoot deep, but we took it to another level. Our training was there’s the NBA three-point line, then we had the four-point line. We would do a whole workout from the four-point line. We just kept building it up, and over the years it’s become easier and easier. Here we are now.

He also explains his loyalty to his small-market roots, including Portland.

...it’s not like I’m doing it on purpose. What it comes down to is I don’t view myself as a big deal. I’m aware of everything that’s happening—the endorsements, playing in the All-Star Game, and being on the cover of video games. But it’s hard to look at that and be full of myself when my relationships and people around me all feel normal.

When Thompson connects that declaration to Lillard’s affinity for Tom Hanks’ classic Oscar turn, Lillard expounds...

I feel like Forrest Gump! This dude was an all-American football player, came up with “shit happens,” and invested in Apple in 1994—but he just wanted to mow the lawn for free, you know what I’m saying? And it wasn’t like he was trying to play no role, it was just like this is who he is. He didn’t view himself like everybody else did. And I think that’s what it is for me.

In the interview, Lillard also talks about his perceived rivalry with Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, whether he’s the greatest Trail Blazers player of all time, adventures purchasing bicycles in Portland, whether he has fun on the court, his rap inspirations, and more.