Ever since Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers on July 1, the seven-time NBA All-Star has been embroiled in a controversial summer.
The main storyline of the NBA off-season, the last 23 days have been full of media speculation and negotiation tactics between Lillard’s camp, the Blazers and Lillard’s preferred trade destination the Miami Heat.
In the midst of this national saga, Lillard signed up for some much lighter fare, appearing as a guest on National Public Radio’s weekly news show, “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!”
The show, taped this past week at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, is hosted by Peter Sagal and features a shifting panel of comedians and contestants who are quizzed about the week’s news in humorous ways. Lillard joined the show for a brief interview and the chance to play “Not My Job,” a trivia game where a celebrity contestant answers questions about a “very trivial” subject. Lillard’s edition of the game was titled, “Buzzer-Beaters Meet Buzzard-Eaters,” and had Lillard answer three questions about the “fine art of dining on roadkill.”
The segment forms an interesting venn diagram consisting of Blazers fans, NPR fans and...roadkill cuisine enthusiasts. If you fall into that niche middle section, this is the show for you!
In the interview portion of Lillard’s 10-minute appearance, he unsurprisingly fields zero questions about off-season trade speculation on the entertainment show. Instead, he talks about his “lyrical sparring” with Shaquille O’Neal, the two restaurants he searched for when he first came to Portland (Wingstop and Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que), and how he first got into basketball at age 7.
“I started playing basketball because I actually faked sick one day from going to school, and so did my older brother and older cousin who is like my older brother. ...We were outside in the front yard and they were playing on our basket, and once I saw them I was like ‘show me.’ So they started showing me crossovers, how to shoot, they lowered the basket so I could dunk, and I automatically took interest in it, but I was bad.”
“Is the moral of this story [to] definitely fake sick, kids of America?” said panelist Luke Burbank in response to Lillard’s origin story.
You can listen to the full episode here. Lillard’s segment starts at the 20:35 mark.