Damian Lillard calls it like he sees it.
After the Portland Trail Blazers star overheard Skip Bayless’ comments following his two missed free throws and a three-pointer in Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, he had words with the FS1 host.
"I believe he still had to be in the locker room, I don't know if he had done his postgame media session or not, but I got a scathing text from Damian saying, 'You might be the most phony MF on TV,’” Bayless said Tuesday on Undisputed. “I'm thinking, 'I'm phony how?' I wrote him back, and I said, 'No, I'm the most honest and objective.'"
The spat between Lillard and Bayless caught fire on Monday after Bayless went on the Undisputed and questioned the five-time NBA All-Star’s superstar status.
I’ll allow you to continue to stick your head in the hand on Damian Lillard, but I’m not going to. What happened on Saturday afternoon validated what I’ve been asking about Damian Lillard. Is he really “That Guy?” Does he really have super in front of star in front of his name?
I don’t see it and I haven’t seen it when it really, really counted, and I don’t think the Clippers had seen it either. Because I gotta tell you, they laughed at your man. They clowned your man when he missed the two free throws, then missed the tying three late in that game. They’re over on the bench, their tapping their imaginary watches ‘it’s Dame Time,’ their waving goodbye to him just like the way he waved goodbye to Russell Westbrook and in the end Paul George, he was there, and their waving goodbye to him… -- Skip Bayless
Lillard clapped back with a response his own, calling Bayless a “joke,” and referencing a private convo the two had in recent months.
According to Bayless, the Trail Blazers guard reached out to him after a May 27 show, where Bayless criticized Lillard for his stance on the Orlando bubble and not wanting to play without having a true shot at the playoffs.
If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that in there." -- Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports
On Tuesday, Skip explained he was frustrated with Lillard’s stance in May, especially as many were depending on the NBA to save sports during the pandemic.
“I was offended because his team was 29-37 at that point,” Bayless said. “We were in the middle of a pandemic and everyone in the sports business, including us sitting right here at this desk, and we were stuck at home at that point, we were all depending on the NBA to go to the bubble and try to save sports for us, by showing us how they could bring sports back safely and by the way they have achieved that. And I think Damian was probably very happy that he went to the bubble and now has a chance to make the playoffs.”
Bayless continued to harp on Lillard’s superstardom, noting Lillard’s success hasn’t been the equivalent of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He called out LeBron’s three championships and three finals MVPs and Kevin Durant’s two rings and two final MVPs. Lillard finished as high as fourth in MVP voting in 2018.
But the point is... 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. LeBron is obviously the face of this league and has earned the right to be the face of this league and so I wondered out loud on TV to you ‘what exactly has Damian Lillard ever won to achieve this kind of stature in this league?’ Because seriously, he’s won nothing.
Lillard reportedly texted Bayless following the May 27 show asking, “what have you done to challenge what I’ve done?” Within five seconds of reading Lillard’s text, the two were in a heated conversation on the phone.
I called him because I don’t run from any of that. You know my background. I’ve had dozens, if not hundreds, of battles with professional athletes in my many years in this business.” -- Skip Bayless
Bayless said the basis of his conversation with Lillard was “what have you done to be that kind of spokesman for the league,” which Lillard responded, “since I came into the league, I’ve been one of the clutchest players in the league.”
He’s not wrong. Lillard practically reinvented the word clutch with his dagger-3 and legendary wave over OKC in 2019 or iconic 0.9 buzzer-beater over the heavily-favored Rockets in 2014. That’s the stuff of legends.
But according to Bayless, it’s not enough to make Lillard a “transcendent king of the NBA kind of player.”
I’m sorry I haven’t seen it yet. So, I told him on the phone, you just need to show me. You can shut me up by doing it. I can’t stop you, I can’t go out and even try to guard you, but you can stop me, silence me, by just doing it. When you get chances in these big games, just go do it…” -- Skip Bayless
Never get in a war of words with Dame because he’ll use it as motivation to prove you wrong time and time again.
We can’t wait for the Skip diss track on Dame D.O.L.L.A.’s next album.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]