Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has responded on Twitter to fan questions about the hiring of presumptive new head coach Chauncey Billups. Billups settled a sexual assault case out of court in 2000, which has led to strong reaction from the Blazers community upon news of his new position of public leadership. In his tweets, Lillard denies knowledge of Billups’ history and says he was only choosing his favorites from a pre-selected list.
Screenshots of the tweets are below. You can find them on Twitter here and here.
Twitter user @YAnunoby got the ball rolling, saying, “This [the hiring] is on Dame IMO. They were always going to hire exactly who he wanted and he wanted Billups or [Jason] Kidd. They put out names like Becky Hammon and Mike D’Antoni to cool off some of the backlash and hire the guy who they were always going to hire.”
Really? I was asked what coaches I like of the names I “heard” and I named them. Sorry I wasn’t aware of their history I didn’t read the news when I was 7/8 years old. I don’t support Those things ... but if this is the route y’all wana come at me... say less
@YAnunoby followed up with, “Dame, I’m a huge fan of your game. If you weren’t aware of the Billups rape case when the news first broke (weeks ago), that’s fair. I just can’t believe that you weren’t aware before the decision was made.
Lillard responded with a curt reply:
I said what I said family.
Kidd was reportedly under consideration for the Blazers post prior to Billups but withdrew his name as his history of domestic violence resurfaced into the public sphere. Kidd has since been named Head Coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
Billups and the Blazers are reportedly still in negotiations as to the terms of the contract.