Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard made headlines this week when he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that he’d sit out when the NBA resumes play if the Trail Blazers didn’t have a path to the playoffs and a shot at the championship. 

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 [expletive] in there.

The NBA is currently exploring scenarios in which play would resume in Orlando, Florida at Disney World, but the details of how many games and who will be playing them still remains to be seen. 

Since Lillard’s comments, NBA players and pundits have weighed in on Lillard’s comments and for the latter, has inspired some really bad hot takes. 

On Wednesday, Dan Orlovsky, a former quarterback and analyst on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ went in on Lillard for those comments. Brace yourselves…  

“If what we’ve experienced over the past three months has taught us anything, there is no such thing as meaningless anymore,” Orlovsky said. “We can’t take things for granted anymore. And there’s a different between have to and get to. And Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball again. Because there’s people out there who have to go do things— frontline workers and nurses and doctors. They have to go to work and they have to work more hours and pay less because of what we’re dealing with. Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball and I would hope and challenge him in his mindset that the last few months has changed that and that he’d take that opportunity to go and perform— to go and compete and get the opportunity to play basketball again. Some people don’t have a choice anymore. They have to go do things. It is not an option.”

 

[RELATED: Damian Lillard accused of elitism for comments-- here's why they're wrong]

But wait, there’s more. 

Orlovsky continues:

How can you sit there and go, ‘Nope, I’m not going to play, but understand that there’s people out there that don’t have that choice. They have to go to work. They have to go earn their money. I struggle with sitting here and going ‘you don’t come off, in some way, a spoiled and entitled brat by saying I’m not going to play.

There’s a lot to unpack here, aside from the absolute absurdity of the comment. 

First and foremost, there’s a difference between what a frontline worker does and what an NBA basketball player does, as spelled out by Orlovsky’s colleague Domonique Foxworth.

“I think it’s kind of an absurd analogy,” Foxworth said. “The people that have to do it is because we have to eat. No one has to play basketball. We don’t have to watch basketball. It’s terrible that some people have no choice in this matter, but that doesn’t mean Damian Lillard has to play basketball.”

Exactly. And who are you calling a spoiled brat, anyways? To call someone a spoiled and entitled brat for not wanting to play meaningless games when there doesn’t have to be any basketball right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic is a spoiled and entitled brat thing to say. Isn’t it? 

Plus, if the Blazers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and this were the regular season, chances are people would be just fine with the team’s franchise player who will be making supermax money sitting out a few games that literally mean nothing. It’d likely be questioned if he didn’t sit out. 

It’s not spoiled, it’s not entitled— it’s a calculated business decision. 

Think before you speak next time. You wouldn’t want someone to think you were spoiled and entitled. 

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UPDATE: Since the creation of this article, Damian Lillard has responded to Orlovsky: 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.