Photo by Steve Dykes of Getty Images https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/damian-lillard
Ranked #61 in my 75 Greatest NBA Players of All Time https://www.djssportsshow.com/post/nba-75-greatest-players-of-all-time is Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard. Lillard was born on July 15, 1990 in Oakland California to his mother Gina and father Houston Lillard. He has a sister named LaNae and a brother named Houston. Growing up Lillard enjoyed skating-rink or playing basketball, but basketball is what he really fell in love with.
Lillard would begin his high school career at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, California, joining the varsity team at just a mere 5’5 as a freshman. He would then go on to transfer to St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California for his sophomore season due to his coach not returning to coach the team. He would unfortunately not get much playing time and would look to transfer schools again, this time for Orlando Watkins at Oakland High School for his junior and senior seasons.
His junior season, Lillard averaged 19.4 points per game and in his senior season he would average 22.4 points, and 5.2 assists per game to help lead the Oakland Wildcats to a 23-9 record. He would also go on to be named First Team All-League, being recognized as one of the best in his area.
Somehow though, Lillard was very overlooked in high school, being just a two star recruit with small schools such as Fresno State, Weber State, and Boise State just to name a few. He would eventually choose to play his college career at Weber State where he would average 11.5 points per game and be named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Big Sky.
He would only continue to improve though, averaging 19.9 points per game his sophomore season and leading the Wildcats to the conference championship. He would be named the Big Sky Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. In 2010-11, as a junior, Lillard would put up 19.7 points per game until he suffered a foot injury ten games into the season that forced him to medically redshirt and sideline him the rest of his junior year.
His redshirt junior season he would go off destroying the nation by averaging 24.5 points per game, leading the nation in scoring most of the year. He was starting to get serious NBA Draft buzz and was considered a top 10 lock in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Overall, he is known as “Dame Time” for his calmness and cold-blooded shots in the clutch, Damian Lillard has been the clutchest player in the league since he stepped foot in 2012 as the sixth overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers out of small Weber State college. Maybe he can become arguably the greatest Blazer ever, if he can win a championship, but for now he’s on that list with Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler as the greatest Blazers in franchise history.
Lillard became the fourth unanimous Rookie of the Year Award winner (2013) in NBA history, joining Blake Griffin, David Robinson, and Ralph Sampson. In his second year in the league he became the first player to compete in every All-Star weekend event (Rising Stars, Skills, 3-Point, Slam Dunk and the All-Star Game).
He has hit the ultimate dagger to opponents hearts twice, which he did in Game 6 first round series against the Harden-led Rockets, and in the first round against the Westbrook, Paul George-led Thunder in Game 5 of 2019. Lillard is the Blazers second all-time leading scorer, trailing only Drexler by 1,225 points entering this season, which he will for sure surpass him barring injury.
A leader on and off the court, Lillard was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2019 and the NBA Teammate of the Year award in 2021. He is also a great hip-hop artist, arguably the best star player and artist ever. He’s one of the rare loyal superstars today, pleading many times he wants to remain with the Blazers his entire career. He is a six-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, and a member of the 75th anniversary team.
Lillard is among the most feared clutch players in league history and when it’s crunch time just know.. It’s “Dame Time!”