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“They're making sure they're not forgotten” — Damian Lillard's opinion on retired players lambasting young players

Dame acknowledged criticism from NBA legends is at times legit. But often it's not about what they're saying, but how they're saying it.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard

Retired players feel like they have an obligation to let everyone know who they were at their peak and what they would have done differently had they played in today’s NBA. Damian Lillard thinks it’s a way for them to stay relevant and not forgotten. Is all this criticism needed? Or are they just self-serving for former players?

“They’re making sure they’re not forgotten”

Retired players lambasting current players has been going on for quite some time. The cycle continues because the young players of today will be the ones making the same statements in the future.

It’s really moot to compare the old and the new era. The way the game is played has evolved through time. The rules have changed as well as the skillset of players. They now have a faster way to recover from games, and advanced training methods are easily accessible. 

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When old heads start griping at how blessed these young players are compared to their era and yet still whine and complain all the time, it leads to a never-ending discussion about how they used what’s available in their time and still succeeded. Lillard offered his take on this subject on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay.”

“I mean, I think it’s just so that they don’t feel forgotten. I think part of it is that they’re making sure they’re not forgotten. Like, ‘Yeah, it was hard when I did it, so before I give them credit, I gotta make sure people know.’ And sometimes that’s true.”

Damian Lillard, Club Shay Shay

The Portland Trail Blazers star also mentioned that some old heads wouldn’t be as dominant in today’s NBA. The same could be said for the current stars if they played in the 70s, 80s, or 90s NBA.

Are these comments necessary?

If the retired players want to help the young ones improve or make better decisions, they could have sent messages via DM or met privately. These old heads are invited to these podcasts and interviews to offer their take on the current players. However, the more negative opinions they give, the better traction it gets in the social media world. That’s why we are seeing more criticisms than words of encouragement from the past era.

Let’s say we flipped the script: the current players criticize the retired players and offer their insights on how things would have been done had they played in that era. It would have started WWIII. Given this, these retired players should give more constructive opinions that will help these young players improve. After all, that’s the cycle of life. Soon, these youngsters will be the ones advising the league’s future stars.

Destroying their self-confidence or esteem for a few million views is not the way to make them feel good about themselves. If they want to remain relevant, they should take the Kobe Bryant route of mentoring young players and teaching them moves in the offseason. That’s how you stay relevant, and that’s how you build your legacy.

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