Through ups and downs and the overwhelming amount of recruitment he obtained league-wide, Damian Lillard has consistently pledged his allegiance with the Portland Trail Blazers. With loyalty flowing through his veins, he plans to end his career cemented in Rip City.
When asked about the notion of his plans on becoming a Trail Blazer for life, Lillard didn’t hide his pure and indelible perspectives.
“Yes, I do (plan on being a Blazer for life),” Lillard said upon his guesting on The Dave Pasche Podcast (h/t Casey Holdahl). “I’ve had my share of people saying ‘Man, you got to get out of there! You’ve got to do this, you’ve got do to that.’ But I’m the type of person that I’m never going to be marching to the beat of nobody else’s drum.
“I’m gonna always do what I feel like is in my best interest and that I really feel in my heart. I’ve said this on many different occasions, they call it ‘He’s being loyal!’ and ‘Loyalty this, loyalty that’ and I’m like, I’m naturally a loyal person but I do have a level of loyalty to the organization, but this loyalty that they’re talking about is ultimately to who I am as a person. I’m being loyal to who I am and not getting beside myself because I’m somebody that, I believe what I believe.”
Chosen by the small market Blazers for the sixth pick of the 2012 Draft, the microwave point man from Oakland in Lillard became the adopted son of Oregon.
Since then, he flared up the franchise for eight-straight postseason appearances from 2014 to 2021. His melting, offensive cannon and scoring wizardry propelled them to a Conference Finals finish in 2019 and incredible cold-blooded moments.
As such, amid the zigzag progress of him and Portland from the previous years, the superstar guard stands unshaken that one day, he’ll be marching with the city towards a golden place – to the basketball’s promised land.
“I think I can get it done,” Lillard said. “Now, everybody else might say ‘There’s no way the Blazers will ever win. They need to do this, they need to do that.’ But that’s just not how I feel about the situation.
“I feel like we’ll have a chance to win, I feel like that moment is going to come, I feel like that opportunity is going to come. And that’s that.”
Despite the previous season that served as a challenging one due to the departure of his long-time comrade in C.J. McCollum and their failure to maintain that streak of postseason appearances, Lillard continued to fortify that unswayed commitment with his beloved ball club, inking a two-year max extension worth nearly $122 million last July.
In today’s era, the players’ images of loyalty are filled by cracks and fading. But on the side of Lillard, it remains beautiful and unblemished.
The 2022-2023 season is soon approaching, and the veteran star can only hope of success one step at a time towards that coveted prize of an NBA title.