Everyone knows the NBA is all about business above everything else, and today more than ever, it’s hard to see loyalty between players and teams anymore. It seems star players nowadays are no longer hesitant to change several franchises during their careers, which was not the case in recent NBA history. Loyalty is a word that is often thrown around the NBA community, and only a few truly live up to it, and Damian Lillard is one of those very few.
In a recent interview for the J.J. Reddick podcast, Lillard gave more insight into things that drive him, which shaped his life ever since he picked up a basketball. His dad had a significant influence on him and always brought up it’s essential to commit to being successful at something. This started when Lillard had to choose a college to play for, and it translates to the person he is now.
I think it’s the route in my upbringing, anything other than loyalty it ain’t worth it, you know. If it causes you to go against who you are or what you believe and what are you about, then it ain’t worth it.Damian Lillard, via J.J. Reddick Podcast
Over the last couple of years, Lillard established himself as one of the best pure scorers in the NBA, which we had the opportunity to witness in the bubble. His confidence is unmatched, and it’s something he built out through the years as he progressed into one of the best players in the NBA.
I’m a person that doesn’t have self-doubt, I don’t doubt myself. If there is one thing I can stand on is that I have real confidence, even in the bad moments or the good moments. I know I have real confidence, and I know I don’t doubt myself.Damian Lillard, via J.J. Reddick Podcast
The path to greatness often has an element of humility, and Lillard personifies that perfectly through everything he’s been through with his basketball career. Selected as a 6th pick in the draft, which was not something he thought would happen, didn’t stop him from having a totally different mindset than most other players. Even though he had a great rookie contract alongside a few endorsements, Lillard was playing and putting effort like he’s got a 10-day deal in his first training camp with the Blazers.
My coach was telling me that I have to be the hardest worker. You gotta be coachable, you have to listen, and when you get to the NBA, you might be in the G-league for a few months, and you might be on the bench for two years. This is the mentality that I’m coming in with. Even after I got picked 6th in the draft with a multi-million dollar deal with Adidas, I literally came into the training camp, thinking it’s possible I’m not going to play.Damian Lillard, via J.J. Reddick Podcast
Lillard often said he plans to stay with the Blazers for his entire career, no matter what happens and how successful they will be. He is on a multi-year contract; the Blazers seem committed to surrounding him with players that will put him in a position to win a championship. He is still in his prime and has a few good years in front of him to achieve that goal, and even if he doesn’t, Lillard definitely serves as a role model and someone who brings much more to the table than merely superior basketball skillset. He is a true leader and one of the most humble NBA superstars you’ll ever meet.