Is Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard a superstar?
Most fans in the pacific northwest wouldn’t hesitate to answer with a resounding ‘yes,’ but those outside are a bit hesitant.
In an interview on Bleacher Report, host Taylor Rooks and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum discussed who is and who isn’t an All-Star in the NBA. The clip that has gone viral on Twitter first discusses Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s status, where both Tatum and Rooks agree that he is. But when Tatum poses the same question for Lillard, Rooks has a different answer.
“I think that Damian has all of the superstar qualities, but it’s hard to put him in it at this moment,” Rooks said. “Obviously he has it in him. He’s got to win. He’s got to get there.”
Sports commentator Skip Bayless doubled down on Rooks’ comments and agreed with her on Twitter.
Kyrie Irving is a superstar. Damian Lillard is not.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 22, 2022
Lillard and Irving both played 29 games last season. Lillard’s absence was a result of injuries, whereas Irving’s had to do with his COVID-19 vaccination status. Irving averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists vs. Lillard’s 24 points and 7.3 assist averages. Both players won zero playoff games last season for their respective teams.
While Irving has the one championship six years ago as a sidekick next to LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s hard to argue how Irving is in a tier higher than Lillard.
The conversation is an expression of opinions, and Rooks is entitled to hers, but it also goes to show how important winning championships shape people’s legacies and how playing in large markets can shift the perception of different players.