When the Portland Trail Blazers selected Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 overall pick, it wasn’t the first time he had crossed paths with Damian Lillard.
In a feature on Henderson written by The Ringer’s Mirin Fader back in December, she recounted a story of when the No. 3 pick reached out to Dame on Instagram for advice.
But being so close to that goal is also thrilling to him. Around midnight the night before, unwinding after the Ignite’s game, he received an Instagram direct message from one of his favorite players: Damian Lillard. “Crazy,” Scoot says, beaming. He had originally reached out to the Trail Blazers star in 2021 asking for advice: “Yo, Damian Lillard. I’m Scoot Henderson. I was just wondering if you can give me some free game on shooting the next shot, and not worry about the last one?” Scoot was struggling to let mistakes go, berating himself, trying so hard to be perfect. Trying to be great.
Scoot tries to play it cool when he reads Lillard’s response. “He was telling me that he messes with my game,” Scoot says. “He’s like, ‘I seen you play’!” Lillard told him to not get caught up in missed shots: “Shoot that shit like you know it’s going in.”
It’s very possible that Scoot was drafted to eventually replace Dame in Portland, possibly as early as next season. But should the two remain teammates, it appears they already have a dynamic relationship that should help the Blazers.
You can read the rest of Fader’s story here.