Damian Lillard has been named the winner of the NBA’s prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award, given annually to an NBA player, coach or staff member who has shown “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”
The award is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association and named after the second commissioner of the league.
The other finalists for this year’s award were Bismack Biyombo, Devin Booker, Mike Conley and Steve Kerr.
Lillard’s contributions to the community are well known.
His “Respect” program is in its sixth year and its second year of focus on specific high schools, in order to have a more significant impact. Those schools were Madison, Parkrose and Roosevelt. Lillard funds the entire program himself with no help from corporate partners. The program encourages students to attend class and become more involved in school activities.
“My goal with the Respect program is to provide support and have a positive impact with the students so they can go on to better themselves," Lillard has said. "I’m so proud to see that the program is having success within the high schools and that the students are excited to participate.”
He is an ambassador for the Moda Assist program that funds playgrounds, he has been a part of the Make A Wish program and he is a global ambassador for Special Olympics.
Previous winners of this award include 17 Hall of Fame players and current stars LeBron James and Pau Gasol.
Greg Swartz, author of the article, had this to say of the star tandem:
With no Curry and Thompson to look up to (for now), the Trail Blazers backcourt can finally stake its claim as the NBA's best.
Coming off a trip to the Western Conference Finals, Lillard and McCollum combined for 46.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.9 assists during the regular season while turning the ball over just 4.2 total times per game.
In six years together, Portland has never had a losing record, reaching the postseason every time.
Following a 53-win season and the third seed in the West, Lillard almost single-handedly dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise with a now-iconic shot and pose to end the first round, leading to Paul George requesting a move and a subsequent trade of Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.
In their 16 postseason games, both Lillard and McCollum proved why they deserve to be called the NBA's best. Lillard averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.7 steals and shot 37.3 percent from deep on nearly 10 attempts per game. McCollum was right behind with 24.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists, and he drilled 39.3 percent of his three-pointers.
Coming in second on the Bleacher Report list is Golden State Warrior’s Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell. (That’ll take some getting used to).
Houston's new backcourt of James Harden and Russell Westbrook came in at No. 3.
Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell in Utah ranked No. 4.
Denver's Jamal Murray and Gary Harris round out the Top 5.
"You get some Voodoo Doughnuts. I got like three dozen," Whiteside said. "Giving them out to the city! We giving them out to the city, man. We sharing love, man. More love, man. We don't do the hate, my man. Less hate, man.”
A big part of his everyday life is his fishpond. It’s easy to see Whiteside’s love of fish, particularly Koi fish from reading the article.
Here is an excerpt from The Ringer article by Haley O’Shaughnessy:
We’re crouched down in his front yard in Miami Beach, sweating into a pond of 40 koi fish. “Come here, OGs,” Whiteside says, touching the water. Like him, they’re strikingly oversized, a group of orange and black and white koi all longer than my forearm. His Snapchat followers (who he also talks to, several times a day) know them well. “They’re more famous than me, man,” he says, wiping water off on his worn-in brown tank top. Whiteside’s been in Miami since the Heat signed him in November 2014, but his drawl—the kind that acts as a thickening agent for vowels and turns “man” from one syllable to two—comes from Gastonia, North Carolina, his hometown.
All 40 fish have a name. Whiteside names everything: The planter in the backyard (Man of Ultimate Wisdom), the bust made of Canadian pennies in the living room. Every name has an explanation, and every explanation has deeper meaning. Which he shares with me, one by one. (The bust is Penny. Name. Sure, a penny itself is worthless, but thousands of pennies together aren’t, especially the Canadian penny, because it’s discontinued. Explanation. Isn’t that beautiful? And, Whiteside smiles, what’s more beautiful than the human body? Meaning. Deep.)
So yes, to answer my question, the fish are individuals. Together he calls them the OGs. He knows what I’m thinking, but it’s short for Old Guys. “They can live to be 140. Don’t matter how much shit they swim through,” Whiteside explains as we walk the stairs of his all-white waterfront home, “they keep swimming.”
Throwback To A Day In The Life Of Hassan Whiteside
Seven years ago, the Sacramento Kings posted a video to their Youtube page as they followed Whiteside around for a day.
From breakfast to working out at the Kings practice facility to figuring out what goes in his protein shake to taking a tour through his condo to getting a haircut to checking out a fish store for his growing aquarium – it was an all-access look.
Check out Whiteside's routine in Sacramento with this throwback video:
The Trail Blazers start their training camp in just a few weeks. That means the NBA season is right around the corner and so is the end of summer. Speaking of "End of Summer," that's the names of the latest freestyle track dropped by Dame D.O.L.L.A, aka Damian Lillard for you basketball fans.
Earlier this summer D.O.L.L.A released "Big D.O.L.L.A," his third album and the follow-up to 2017's "Confirmed." The track "End of Summer" just adds to a near endless list of impressive lyrical endeavors for the Trail Blazers star point guard. If you haven't heard it, you can listen to it below.
If social media is to believed (and it is), fans loved D.O.L.L.A.'s latest track:
Interview Question: How did having military background parents sort of help you in staying disciplined because I know you're not just a great basketball player, you're a great student. You were the salutatorian of your high school, so how did they help you with that?
Little’s Answer:Growing up, I feel like, they did a lot of work as a child. They’re not really strict. People think, ‘You have military parents and they’re like sit up straight all the time,’ for me it wasn’t really like that it was just kind of like, just being courteous and being conscious and as I got older in middle school, I had a rough year academically. But my parents were never the type to like, get mad at me about it because it wasn’t nothing that they taught me, like it’s not their grades, so I looked at myself in the mirror and I guess it’s just something in me, and I looked at myself and I said, ‘I want to do better.’ So I told myself that I’m going to do good for the rest of my high school, middle school, whatever career. Ever since that year, I started grinding, doing better in the classroom and I’ve been good ever since.
Trail Blazers fans have long been anticipating the start of the 50th season of their beloved franchise. It was announced over the summer that the team would turn back the clock and play a preseason game in Veteran Memorial Coliseum (VMC), they also announced special Decade Nights to be celebrated throughout the regular season.
On Monday the Blazers dropped some more info on these special events:
The preseason game at VMC will feature members of the original team including Geoff Petrie, Rollan Todd, Jim Barnett, Shaler Halimon, and Bill Schonely in attendance.
Rose Quater Commons will feature outdoor activities for fans to enjoy prior to the game, as well as special throwback photo opportunities throughout the concourse. Exclusive retail items will also be available.
The team will also have special decades nights to celebrate the '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, and '10s.
Every decade night will feature Trail Blazers alumni from the respective era.
A special decade themed poster will be given to fans in attendance, and special themed retail items will be available for purchase.
The team will wear the special Classic Edition uniforms during the decade night games.
“We have to be accountable,” Hoard said. “We need to make sure when we’re making a mistake, we’re not pointing fingers. We have to really own up to our mistakes and actually like, work to fix them, not just talk about it, not just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to do better’ in everything, we actually have to do it.
Hoard had 22 points and 10 rebounds and was the only Deacon in double-figure scoring in the loss.
Hezonja began playing basketball for Dubrovnik at the age of 13. He later signed with the Croatian team Zagreb, with whom he won the Euroleague Basketball Nike International Junior Tournament.
The number one song on Billboard 100 was "Take A Bow" by Madonna the day Hezonja was born.
No Thanks To College Offer
Hezonja had a scholarship offer from Coach John Calipari to play at Kentucky. Could you imagine what Kentucky’s team would’ve been like with the addition of Hezonja during the 2014-15 season? He would have been paired with Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, and Trey Lyles. But, Hezonja had set his sights on the NBA.
Strong Portland Connection
As the Trail Blazers get ready for the 2019-20 season, younger Blazer fans should know –
Hezonja is going to wear No. 44 this season, a tribute to Croatian great and former Trail Blazer and Hall of Famer Drazen Petrovic.
Petrovic wore No. 44 in Portland. Drazen's brother, Aleksandar, coached Hezonja on their country’s national team.
“Obviously the greatest European player of all time,” Hezonja said during his introductory news conference with the Blazers. “It’s out of respect to him. The journey continues in his name right now. I’m glad I’m the leader of the journey right now. Carrying my entire country with it.”
Hezonja’s passing skills were modeled after Petrovic.
Just for fun here’s a throwback video to some of Petrovic’s career highlights:
March 17th’s one-point victory over the Lakers was no ordinary game for the Knicks and for Hezonja.
The New York Knicks forward — who yes also dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo and then stepped over the Greek Freak last December — had blocked LeBron James’ game-winner attempt in that win over the Lakers.
This photo was snapped after Hezonja committed a foul on King James earlier in the contest, so it’s not the photo of him blocking the LeBron’s game winner, however, it’s kind of a perfect summary of that night.