Damian Lillard continues with his social media beefs. Following his altercation with Paul George and Patrick Beverley, Dame has picked up a feud with Skip Bayless, after the latter took on twitter to criticize him for missing two clutch free throws against the Clippers. It didn’t take long for Lillard to respond.
About that private convo Lillard is referring to. Skip himself shed light on it, making it clear that their beef goes way deeper than their tweeter back-and-forth. It goes all the way back to May when the NBA was trying to come up with the best possible solution to bring back the game of basketball. Just around that time, the talk about the bubble had started, and what Dame had to say about the idea of it struck Skip the wrong way.
“Damian had said he would go to the bubble, but unless the NBA could devise a format that would give them a chance to make the playoffs, he was going to sit on the bench and watch these bubble games if he didn’t have the chance to actually make the playoffs. I was offended because we were in the middle of a pandemic, and everyone in the sports business were depending on the NBA to go to the bubble and try to bring sports back for us safely.”Skip Bayless, Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED
So Skip was worked up and angry because the whole sports-related media world was depending on the NBA coming back, and in such an environment, Dame had a rebellion-like approach. It was basically ‘I was going to play under certain conditions’, and that didn’t sit well with Skip. So he started questioning his credibility to even say such things.
Damian Lillard has often spoken out like he’s one of the leaders of the NBA. He sometimes speaks as if he’s LeBron James, and LeBron is obviously the face of the league and has earned the right to be the face of this league. So I wondered out loud on TV ‘what exactly did Damian Lillard ever won to achieve this kind of stature in this league’ because seriously, he’s won nothing.Skip Bayless, Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED
Dame took it personally, as he should, and had started seeking for Skip’s phone number to sort it things out off the air. Bayless was up for it, as he called Lillard right away and even tried to get him in the studio. It wouldn’t be the first live feud involving Skip Bayless.
According to Skip, the talk wasn’t civil, as Dame was pretty agitated and angry at him. Nevertheless, Bayless tried explaining his point of view; how he was scared for the sustainability of their network because every single American sport was up in the air. He told Lillard he got over emotional, to which Dame said he backtracked. That’s when Skip doubled down on the basis of his commentary, once again doubting Dame’s credibility to that type of spokesman for the league. That’s when things got heated.
According to Skip, there’s no such thing as Dame Time. He gave Lillard credit for hitting huge shots in the clutch, but when it mattered the most, Dame didn’t deliver, at least that’s what Bayless is saying. He corroborated it with Lillard’s performance against the Durant-less Golden State Warriors in the conference finals of the last year’s Playoffs. The series boiled down to the clash of backcourts in which Lillard failed to deliver.
“In fourth quarters of those games, Damian Lillard went 8 of 26, that’s 31% from the field, and he shot 5 of 17 from the three-point line, that’s 29%. He was a -30 for those fourth quarters. He was not clutch. And for those of you who don’t know this, since Dame entered this league, he has the worst post-season winning percentage in all of the NBA. He’s 19 and 32 in his games. Is that all his fault? Absolutely not. But is he a transcendent, king of the NBA kind of player? I’m sorry, I haven’t seen it yet. So I kept telling him, ‘you can silence me by doing it,’ but the conversation did not end well. It was cold.”Skip Bayless, Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED
Apparently, after having a private conversation with Skip, Dame was under the impression that he won’t be the topic of Bayless’ public criticism anymore. But that’s not the TV persona Skip Bayless is. One thing about Skip, he doesn’t pull any punches. He just talks the way he sees it. And most of the time, I don’t agree with how he sees things.
However, I’m siding with Skip on this one. I’m not buying the whole special treatment Dame was seeking from the NBA. Their job was to secure a safe landscape for players to play in, and it was on players to show up for work. I don’t see why Lillard would’ve been an exception, regardless of a format the NBA devised.
It all turned out great in the end. Dame is killing it in the bubble, fighting for the eighth seed, and Skip is still going strong with his daily sports talk show. This whole little drama will only have their ratings going up. Who knows, maybe that was Skip’s plan all along.