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Damian Lillard—Oakland Star Still Rising

Oakland native Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard (born July 15, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Weber State Wildcats and earned third-team All-Americanhonors in 2012. After being selected by Portland with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Lillard won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award by unanimous decision. An NBA All-Star in 2014, 2015 and 2018, Lillard is one of six players in franchise history to become a three-time All-Star.

High school career

During his sophomore year, Lillard transferred to St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, a private school that produced former NBA point guard Jason Kidd, but by year's end he looked to transfer again due to the lack of playing time. Lillard played for coach Orlando Watkins at Oakland High School his final two years of high school where he was first team all-league. As a junior at Oakland, he averaged 19.4 points per game. He averaged 22.4 points and 5.2 assists per game his senior season and led Oakland to a 23-9 record. Lillard's development also grew during the summer of 2007 playing for Oakland's premier Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball program, the Oakland Rebels.

Lillard was not heavily recruited out of high school and only regarded as a two-star prospect by He would accept a scholarship offer to play for Weber State University, a mid-major school located in Ogden, Utah.

College career

As a freshman, Lillard averaged 11.5 points per game and was named conference Freshman of the Year and first-team All Big Sky; the first Big Sky freshman to do so since Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey in 2006.

His sophomore year, Lillard raised his scoring average to 19.9 points per game and led the Weber State Wildcats to the regular season conference championship. At the end of the season, Lillard was named the Big Sky Player of the Year and was an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press.

In 2010–11, Lillard was again off to a good start. However, his season was cut short after he suffered a foot injury ten games into the season and was forced to take a medical redshirt. Lillard led the Big Sky in scoring with 19.7 points per game before his injury sidelined him for the year.

As a redshirt junior, Lillard averaged 24.5 points and led the nation in scoring throughout most of the year but ended up finishing second to Oakland University's Reggie Hamilton. On December 3, 2011, against San Jose State, Lillard scored a college career-high 41 points, including a game-winning three-point play that gave Weber State a 91–89 double-overtime win. At the end of the year, he was named to his third first-team all-conference selection and won his second Big Sky Player of the Year award. Lillard was also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award.

After his strong year, Lillard was widely regarded as the top point guard prospect in the country and decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2012 NBA draft. He finished his college career as the No. 2 scorer in Weber State history (1,934 points) and the No. 5 scorer in Big Sky history.

Professional career

Portland Trail Blazers (2012–present)

2012–13 season: Rookie of the Year

Lillard was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. In the season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 31, Lillard joined Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson as the only players in NBA history with at least 20 points and 10 assists in their NBA debut. In addition, his 11 assists tallied in the opener were the most by an NBA rookie in his first game since Jason Kidd (11) in 1994, and the most by a Trail Blazer in his NBA debut, all-time. Lillard made a career-high 15 field goals and a Trail Blazer rookie-record seven 3-pointers on January 11 against the Golden State Warriors, where he finished with 37 points, six rebounds and four assists. He became the first Trail Blazer to win an event at the NBA All-Star Weekend, winning the Skills Challenge. He also participated in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend and finished with 18 points, three rebounds and five assists in a game-high 28 minutes. Lillard became the first NBA rookie to record 35 points, nine assists and zero turnovers in a game since turnovers became a stat in 1978–79 against the San Antonio Spurson March 8. On April 10 against the Lakers, Lillard scored a season-high 38 points. He earned Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for every month, becoming one of just eight players to sweep NBA Rookie of the Month honors since the inaugural award in 1981–82. He finished fifth in the NBA in 3-pointers made, 12th in points per game, tied for 16th in assists per game and tied for 23rd in free throw percentage. He was one of 10 NBA players to score 1,500 points and he led all rookies in scoring (19.0 ppg), assists (6.5 apg), field goals (553) and free throws (271).

Lillard averaged 19.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.90 steals and 38.6 minutes in 82 games (all starts), as he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, joining Blake Griffin (2011), David Robinson (1990) and Ralph Sampson (1984) as the only players to win the award unanimously. He became the fourth Trail Blazer to win the award and joined Robertson and Iverson as the only rookies in NBA history to record 1,500 points and 500 assists in a season. Lillard became one of two Trail Blazers to ever finish with 1,500 points and 500 assists in a season (the other being Clyde Drexler in 1986–87 and 1991–92); broke the all-time NBA rookie record for 3-pointers in a season (185), surpassing Stephen Curry's 166 3-pointers in 2009–10; became the Portland franchise leader for most 3-point field goals in a season, breaking Damon Stoudamire's record of 181 in 2004–05; and became the first rookie to lead the NBA in total minutes played (3,167) since Elvin Hayes in 1968–69.

2013–14 season: First All-Star selection

In the season opener on October 30, Lillard scored 32 points against the Phoenix Suns. He had a second 32-point effort on December 7 against the Dallas Mavericks. On December 17, he had 36 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The following day, he had a second straight 36-point effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On January 7, in a 123–119 loss to the Sacramento Kings, Lillard scored a career-high 41 points, including 26 in the fourth quarter, breaking Portland's franchise record for most points in any quarter. On February 7, he had a 38-point effort against the Indiana Pacers. During All-Star weekend, Lillard became the first player in NBA history to take part in five events during the All-Star festivities: the Rising Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest, and the All-Star Game.

Lillard started all 82 games for the second straight year and averaged 20.7 points, 5.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Portland finished fifth in the Western Conference with a 54–28 record and faced the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. In Game 1 of the series, Lillard recorded 31 points and nine rebounds in his first playoff appearance to help propel Portland to a 122–120 overtime win over Houston. In Game 6 of the series, Lillard became the first player to make a buzzer-beating shot to win a playoff series since Utah's John Stockton against Houston in 1997. Lillard's 3-pointer as time expired gave Portland a 99–98 victory over Houston, as he finished with 25 points to lift the Trail Blazers to their first playoff series win since 2000. The Trail Blazers went on to lose in five games to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. Lillard had a series-best game in Game 4 with a 25-point effort, helping the Trail Blazers win their sole game of the series. At the season's end, Lillard was named to the All-NBA Third Team.

2014–15 season: Second All-Star selection

For the third straight season, Lillard started all 82 games for the Trail Blazers. He averaged career highs in points, rebounds, steals and field goal percentage, but averaged a career-low 34 percent from three-point range. He shot well during the first two months of the season, before struggling with his shot from January onwards. Despite this, he set the record for most three-pointers in a player's first three seasons, led the team in Win Shares, and finished second in PER. On December 19, 2014, he scored a career-high 43 points in a 129–119 triple overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs. Four days later, he had a 40-point effort against the Oklahoma City Thunder. On January 5, 2015, he had a 39-point effort against the Los Angeles Lakers. On February 8, 2015, Lillard was selected as a replacement for the injured Blake Griffin in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game. On March 4, 2015, Lillard recorded a career-high 18 rebounds in a 98-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Trail Blazers finished the regular season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference with a 51–31 record. They faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games. Lillard shot 16 percent from three-point range during the series, hitting just 5-of-31 including going 0-of-6 in Game 1.

2015–16 season

On July 9, 2015, Lillard signed a five-year, $120 million contract extension with the Trail Blazers. On October 28, 2015, Lillard recorded 21 points and 11 assists in a season-opening win over the New Orleans Pelicans. His one three-pointer made during the game was his 600th career three-point field goal, making him the fastest NBA player in history to reach the mark at 247 games. In addition, Lillard's 11 assists gave him 1,500 for his career, making him the fastest Trail Blazer to reach the milestone since Terry Porter (1987–88 season, 215 games). In the following game on October 30 against the Phoenix Suns, Lillard became the fastest player to reach 5,000 points and 1,500 assists (248 games) since Derrick Rose (240 games).

On December 12, in a loss to the New York Knicks, Lillard became the first Blazer since Clyde Drexler in 1991–92 to record 600 points and 150 assists during the team's first 25 games. On December 21, Lillard missed the first game of his career with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, ending his streak of playing in 275 consecutive games. Backcourt partner C. J. McCollum also missed the game, leaving the Trail Blazers without their two leading scorers to face the Atlanta Hawks, subsequently losing the game 106–97. He missed a further six games with the injury, returning to action on January 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies and recording 17 points and 7 assists in a 91–78 loss.[32] On January 8, he scored a then season-high 40 points in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.[33] On January 18, in a win over the Washington Wizards, he hit his 2,000th NBA field goal, one of only eight players to reach that mark since he entered the league in 2012–13. On January 26, in a win over the Sacramento Kings, Lillard recorded 15 points and 13 assists for his 10th double-double of the season, a career high. On February 19, he scored a career-high 51 points in a 137–105 win over the Golden State Warriors. He became the first player in NBA history to have at least 50 points, seven assists and six steals since the steal became an official statistic in 1973–74. Two days later, he scored 30 points against the Utah Jazz, becoming the first Blazer to score at least 30 points in four consecutive games since Drexler accomplished the feat in 1991. He extended that streak to five in the team's following game on February 23 against the Brooklyn Nets.[38] Over his first 300 games in the NBA, Lillard averaged 21.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. Only four other players in NBA history averaged 21 points and six assists over their first 300 games: Oscar Robertson (30.2 and 10.3), Nate Archibald (24.5 and 8.4), LeBron James (26.7 and 6.4) and Dwyane Wade (24.0 and 6.4). On March 4, he had his second 50-point game of the season in a 117–115 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

On March 8, Lillard had 41 points and 11 assists in a 116–109 overtime win over the Washington Wizards, recording his 15th straight game with 20-plus points. He also had his 400th assist of the season, making him the first Trail Blazer with 400-plus assists in each of his first four seasons. In the Trail Blazers' season finale on April 13 against the Denver Nuggets, Lillard hit his 827th career three-pointer, besting Wesley Matthews' Portland franchise record of 826. Lillard finished the regular season with an average of 25.1 points per game, while C. J. McCollumaveraged 20.8 – making them the first backcourt in Blazers' history to average 20 or more points apiece. Lillard also became the third Blazer to average 25-plus points, joining Drexler and Kiki Vandeweghe.

After defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, the Trail Blazers moved on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. In Game 3 of the series, Lillard recorded 40 points and 10 assists to help the Trail Blazers win 120–108, cutting the Warriors' advantage in the series to 2–1. The Trail Blazers went on to lose the series in five games.

2016–17 season

In the Trail Blazers' season opener on October 25, 2016, Lillard recorded 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting, as well as 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a 113–104 win over the Utah Jazz. With his first assist of the night, Lillard passed Jim Paxson for sixth on the franchise career list (2,008). Four days later, he scored 37 points, including the go-ahead floater with less than a second remaining in overtime, to lead the Trail Blazers to a 115–113 win over the Denver Nuggets. With 27 points against the Phoenix Suns on November 2, Lillard became the first NBA player to score 27 or more points in each of his team's first five games since Kobe Bryant in 2005–06. Lillard's 163 points in the season's first five games are the most ever by a Blazer to start a season. Two days later, Lillard scored 27 of his season-high 42 points in the second half of the Trail Blazers' 105–95 win over the Dallas Mavericks. With 38 points on November 8 against Phoenix, Lillard had 262 points over the first eight games of the season, the most through the first eight games of a season in franchise history. It was also the most by an NBA player since Bryant had 264 through the first eight in 2009–10.

Lillard amassed a team-record 695 points in the Blazers' first 25 games of the season, eclipsing Clyde Drexler's previous mark of 681 in 1988. He went on to miss five games between December 26 and January 4 after spraining his left ankle against San Antonio on December 23. On January 28 against Golden State, Lillard reached 8,000 career points, becoming the 11th Blazer to hit the mark and joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only three players to reach 8,000 points and 2,000 assists in their first five seasons. On March 19, Lillard scored a season-high 49 points, tied a career high with nine three-pointers, and carried the Trail Blazers past the Miami Heat, 115–104. On April 3, 2017, he was named Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in March. Behind Lillard, the Trail Blazers went an NBA-best 13–3 in March to surge into eighth place in the Western Conference. Lillard ranked third in the NBA in scoring (29.1 ppg) and tied for fourth in three-pointers made (55) to go with 6.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.44 steals in 16 games. Five days later, Lillard scored a franchise-record 59 points and matched his career high with nine three-pointers to lead the Trail Blazers to a 101–86 win over the Jazz. It was Lillard's 27th game of the season with 30 or more points, a franchise high. He also became the fifth Blazer to score 2,000-plus points in a season. After being 10 games under .500 at the All-Star break, Lillard helped the Trail Blazers to an 18–8 late-season surge to earned them the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 41–41 record. They faced the Golden State Warriors for the second straight year in the playoffs, this time in the first round. Portland went on to lose the series in a clean sweep despite Lillard's 34-point effort in Game 4. For the series, Lillard averaged 27.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 43% from the field, 28% from behind the arc, and 96% from the free throw line. On May 2, 2017, he was named the recipient of the Magic Johnson Award for the 2016–17 season, which honors the player who best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.

2017–18 season

In the Trail Blazers' season opener on October 18, 2017, Lillard scored 27 points in a 124–76 win over the Phoenix Suns. On October 28, in a 114–107 win over Phoenix, Lillard reached the 9,000-point milestone during the third quarter. With 402 career games, Lillard became the fastest Blazer to score 9,000 points.[59] On October 30, he had a season-high 36 points in a 99–85 loss to the Toronto Raptors. On November 2, he scored 32 points and made a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to lift the Trail Blazers to a 113–110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Three days later, he had 36 points and 13 assists in a 103–99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lillard, scoring at least 30 points in his fourth consecutive game, scored on a driving layup with 29.5 seconds to give the Blazers a 98–94 lead that the Thunder were unable to overcome. On November 15, he had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a 99–94 win over the Orlando Magic. During the game, he passed Mychal Thompson (9,215 points) for eighth on the team's all-time scoring list. On November 27, he scored 32 points in a 103–91 win over the New York Knicks. He finished the game on 2,575 career assists, moving him past Rod Strickland into fourth place on Portland's career assists list. Lillard also joined Clyde Drexlerand Terry Porter as the only players in franchise history in the top 10 in scoring and top five in assists. On December 9, he tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers and scored 35 points in a 124–117 loss to the Houston Rockets. Two days later, he scored a season-high 39 points with five 3-pointers in a 111–104 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Lillard dealt with a hamstring injury late in December before straining his right calf in early January. On January 12, he scored 23 points in a 119–113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. He moved into seventh in franchise history in scoring with 9,753 points, passing Geoff Petrie (9,732). On January 22, Lillard was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played January 15–21. It was his fourth career Player of the Week nod. A day later, he was named a Western Conference All-Star reserve. On February 2, he scored 32 points in a 130–105 loss to the Raptors, becoming the fastest player in franchise history to reach 10,000 points for his career. He became the eighth player to get 10,000 points and 2,500 assists in his first six seasons, joining Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Nate Archibald, Pete Maravich, Dave Bing and Oscar Robertson. On February 9, in a 118–100 win over the Sacramento Kings, Lillard scored a season-high 50 points in 29 minutes—the fourth 50-point game of his career. He scored 22 points in the third quarter before sitting out the entire fourth quarter. He shot 16 of 26 from the field with eight 3-pointers to go with 10-of-10 free throws. On February 14, he had 44 points and eight assists in a 123–117 win over the Warriors. On February 24, he hit a go-ahead lay-up with 0.9 seconds left and finished with a game-high 40 points in a 106–104 win over the Suns. Nineteen of his 40 points came in the fourth quarter, as he helped the Trail Blazers rally from 15 down in the final 7½ minutes.

Personal life

Lillard wears the jersey number #0, representative for the letter 'O' and his journey in life; from Oakland, to Ogden, and now Oregon. Lillard is a Christian; he has a scripture on his left arm of Psalms 37:1-3. He completed his degree in professional sales from Weber State University in May 2015. Lillard's sister, LaNae, attended Lakeridge High School, while his brother, Houston, is an Indoor Football League quarterback. He also has a signature shoe line called the "Adidas Dame".[79]

Rap career

Lillard is a hip-hop artist and rapper. He started a social media trend called "Four Bar Friday" in which he, and anyone who chooses to participate, submits a video of themselves rapping a small verse on Instagram every Friday with the hashtag #4BarFriday. In July 2015, he released his first full length single, "Soldier in the Game", via the online music streaming site SoundCloud. On October 21, 2016, Lillard released his debut album The Letter O. On October 6, 2017, Lillard released his second album Confirmed.

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