Portland Trail Blazers Six-time NBA legend Damien Lillard is the NBA’s best player and best rapper. And he also happens to be an endorsement magnet that made as much money as Oprah and Paul McCartney in 2020. We caught up with Lillard to talk about basketball, tattoos, movies, and more.
Men’s magazine: When did you decide to start bombing from behind the three-point line in games?
Damian Lillard: In (2018), New Orleans swept us in the playoffs. It was an embarrassing series. With my coach I got to tackle things that I could improve to make the game a little easier on myself. I was always able to shoot with depth, but we took it to another level. Our training there was a three-point streak in the NBA, and then we had a four-point streak. We’ll do a full workout from the Four Point Line. We have been building it, and over the years it has gotten easier and easier. We are here now.
What is the secret of getting into the bag?
Lots of people train during the holiday season to get ready for the season. Then we play loads of games, and the time you spend keeping yourself somewhat sharp disappears. For me during the season, I still got these really smart actors. Even when my mind is tired, my body is a little tired, I tell myself I have to do it. Over time once you know that you have completely prepared yourself, I think you feel a difference in those situations.
You and Steve Curry have been named the hottest player in the NBA. Feeling more of a rivalry or camaraderie with Carrie?
More camaraderie. Everything in this day and age is a comparison. I can’t play well without saying, “Oh, but Steve is better.” If you shoot Three Deep and people are like, “Oh, that’s Logo Lillard!” Then it’s like, “Nah, Steve got to do it first.” People make it competitive. But when Steve and I talk we’re cool, you know? I appreciate him, I think he appreciates me. And this is who.
You got your first tattoo in a Utah mall. Where’s next?
I don’t know if I have a lot of space. I don’t want to tattoo my legs nor do I want my neck tattooed. And my back, that’s a sore spot, so maybe I’m done.
Have you ever sold a car at Damien Lillard Toyota?
I sold my first car yesterday, actually.
Forrest Gump It definitely had an effect on me.
Favorite old rapper?
Tupac is my all-time favorite rapper.
It’s your funeral, what track Tupac are you playing: “Life Goes On” or “Picture Me Rollin”?
“and life goes on.”
I went to a Hot Boys concert in Oakland when I was 11 years old.
Your GOAT Spirit rap video shows your home gym, but does any outdoor sport mix with your fitness routine?
Last year during quarantine, my fiancé and I bought bikes and started riding. When she said, “Let’s get some bikes” I was thinking, like Ferret bikes. But we did go to this bike store. Little did I know the bikes were so expensive.
How much did you spend
My bike was $ 2,500. It is an electric bike. It’s crazy because I didn’t even know that this type of bike even existed, but I like it so much.
Who is the greatest blazer: Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, or you?
Walton won the MVP award, and won a championship. Clyde is one of the greatest players of all time, and he went to two finals. [The Clyde Drexler-led Trail Blazers lost in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons in 1990 and Chicago Bulls in 1992.] So, it’s a great company to be in. I always say that I don’t think anyone playing here was more proud of me in wearing the Trail Blazers outfit, wanting it done for this city and our fans. And the numbers are there. I think by the time I’m done, I’ll be the greatest Trailblazer of all time.
Do you have fun when you play? It’s hard to say.
I have a lot of fun, and I really enjoy the game. I enjoy the twists, challenges and excitement. But I take it seriously, you know? I laugh a lot at the game in the locker room – then the joy goes out. But in court, my expression isn’t saying that.
Your loyalty to the smaller markets – Auckland, Ogden and Portland – has made you loved nationally. Do you carry a small town slide on your shoulder?
I do, but it’s not like I’m doing it on purpose. What it has to do is that I don’t consider myself a big problem. I’m aware of everything that’s going on – the endorsement, the All-Star play, the being on the cover of video games. But it’s hard to look at it and be full of myself when my relationships and the people around me all feel normal.
Like Forest Gump?
I feel like a Forest Gump! This guy was an all-American footballer, he came up with “bullshit” and invested in Apple in 1994 – but he just wanted to mow the lawn for free, do you know what I’m saying? And it wasn’t as if he was trying not to play any role, it was as if that was what he was. He didn’t look at himself like everyone else. And I think that’s what it is for me.
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