Damian Lillard wants to play for something and have a fair shot at it

Damian Lillard wants to play for something and have a fair shot at it

Early Tuesday morning, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard told Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes that he would not play when the NBA returns unless Portland has a chance to compete for a playoff berth.

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. — Damian Lillard

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

He added further context to those comments later on in the day during an appearance on Basketball Jones with Mark Jones, reiterating that he wants to play but only if the team can finish the playoff race they were in before the coronavirus suspended the season on March 11.

Obviously, we are professional basketball players so we want to play. A lot of us haven't been training. You know, preparing for that because we started the season so of course, we want to finish it. But, like right before we had this break, right before COVID-19 hit we were in the middle of a playoff race. You know, a pretty tight playoff race not just with us but the 10th, 11th, and 12th place teams in the Western Conference are within striking distance. You looking at 15, 16 games remaining and you have an opportunity to close in. So now with these things happening you just hope that when we do come back and play that you have an opportunity to still be in pursuit of that. Instead of just coming back and playing just to play. That's not what anybody wants. - Damian Lillard

Portland's franchise player's message remains clear: If the NBA wants him to play again this season the league needs to give Lillard something to play for.

Who can blame him and the franchise? 

Lillard signed a four-year, $196 million supermax extension with the franchise last offseason following Portland's deepest playoff run since 2000. That extension will not even kick in for another two years until the 2021-22 NBA season. Having invested over $250 million in Lillard over the next six seasons, why would Portland play him if the team cannot make the postseason? 

Especially when Lillard suffered a groin strain in the Blazers' final game before the All-Star break that forced him to miss three games. He did return to the lineup before the season's suspension, but the Blazers would be smart to have him sit out any remaining games that don't matter in the grand scheme. 

"We want to play but we want to play for something," Lillard went on to say. "I'm still training and preparing to play but we just want to play for something." 

Lillard had been averaging 28.9 points and 7.8 assists in 36.9 minutes per game in 58 appearances.  

The NBA announced this past Saturday that they have entered negotiations with the Walt Disney Corporation to play out the rest of the 2019-20 season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

[RELATED]: NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

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

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum roast Gary Trent Jr. for airplane bathroom photoshoot

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum roast Gary Trent Jr. for airplane bathroom photoshoot

C’mon Gary….

Isn’t there a common understanding that IF you have to use the bathroom on an airplane, that you get in do your business and leave as quickly as possible?

Well, turns out Portland Trail Blazers second-year player Gary Trent Jr. got a little bored on the coast to coast flight from Portland to Orlando and decided to do turn said bathroom into a studio.

In his words, “long flight.”

View this post on Instagram

Long flight 👺🤣✈️

A post shared by G Trent (@gtrentjr) on


[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

I mean, it is around a six hour flight from Portland to Orlando, so the likelihood of having to use the bathroom is indeed higher. Turns out there was a line behind him waiting to use the facilities.

Teammates Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Zach Collins, Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons all called out GTJ on the situation.

“Bra this why I had to wait to use the damn bathroom?” - Damian Lillard

“Bruh something wrong with you.” — CJ McCollum

“That 3rd photo got me weak.” — Anfernee Simons

This is what we were waiting on!?” — Zach Collins

“Im tryna take a piss and you in there doin this.” — Nassir Little

Maybe GTJ learned his lesson for next time...

The Trail Blazers landed in Orlando, Flordia and arrived at their hotel (Disney's Yacht Club) on Thursday evening. Friday is a quarantine day and then the Blazers will begin practice on Saturday.

Read more on head coach Terry Stotts' plans for practices/scrimmages before Portland's first game on July 31.

Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

Trail Blazers enter NBA's Bubble in Orlando-- everything you need to know

Twenty-two NBA teams will soon all enter in the Orlando, Florida bubble to resume the 2019-20 season where they will spend a minimum of five weeks at the Walt Disney World campus.

The resumption of the season in the bubble starts now for the Trail Blazers.

The Blazers landed in Orlando at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. The team will now start to settle into their new digs as the initial protocol of being quarantined for the first two days begins.  

And Zach Collins will be taking us along for the ride!

The NBA’s bubble has already proven to be a fascinating situation. After seeing Nuggets shooting guard Troy Daniels’ food options in the bubble, social media erupted about the not-so-appealing dish.  

Thursday it was reported that the NBA has now partnered with a handful of restaurants to provide delivery services to the bubble. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

The Blazers will get their first chance to practice as a team on Saturday as their three-week training camp begins.  

Portland will also play in three scrimmages before the Blazers tip-off their eight 'regular season' slate:

  • Thursday, July 23 vs. Indiana at 12:30 p.m. PT
  • Sunday, July 26 vs. Toronto at 3:00 p.m. PT
  • Tues, July 28 vs. Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m. PT 

The scrimmages will have the look and feel of a typical NBA game.

“The only thing I know about the scrimmages is that they're going to be games,” Blazer coach Terry Stotts said earlier this week. “They're going to be 48-minute games [with]referees. So it's not going to be an informal scrimmage... It's going to be conducted just like a regular game.”

Teams started to arrive in Orlando on Tuesday this week with all 22 teams scheduled to enter the bubble by the end of the week.

The Clippers, the Thunder, the Celtics, the Pelicans, the Kings, the Grizzlies, the Heat, the Wizards, the Jazz, the Nuggets, the Nets, and the Suns all touched down in Orlando earlier this week.

Check out the quick links below to get up to speed on all things Trail Blazers as Portland gets set to tip-off its three-week training:


CJ McCollum gets candid about race in America

CJ McCollum gets candid about race in America

Racism has taken a seat front and center in the 2020 news cycle.

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement sparked countless riots and protests across the country. Protests that continue more than a month after his passing. 

The protests, coupled with the Black Lives Matter movement, have forced many of us to have the uncomfortable conversation about racism in this country. 

Among the many having the conversation is Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum.

"What's happened in the world now has given us a chance to have those uncomfortable conversations," said McCollum in a recent NBA roundtable, "I'm a black man. I've faced racism. I've gone up against racism, but I still didn't know enough. I still wasn't as educated as I would like to be. I just tried to watch as many movies as I could, as many documentaries as I could, read as many books as I could so that when I have those conversations, I'm not just biased. I'm not talking about my experiences, I'm talking about the experiences of my ancestors, the experiences of everyone."

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

While, on the surface, we have come so far since the end of segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is very apparent that we still have so far to go.

As a way to help educate and bridge the gap, NBA stars Blake Griffin, Harrison Barnes, and Kyle Korver recently paired with McCollum to have a candid conversation about race in America. 

The conversation was aired in its entirety on the Excel Sports Management Instagram page (listen to the full interview below). 

While each of us has a unique perspective and experience in regards to racism, it was incredibly powerful to hear from these four.

McCollum, in particular, struck a chord, as he shared stories about race and his experience in Portland.

"Fast forward to being drafted to Portland, Oregon, it's a place that is extremely white," said McCollum. "Having gone to the African American museums and we learn more about Oregon's history, you'll find out that it wasn't too long ago where all the blacks were forced to leave... This was a place that wasn't big on racism in terms of slavery, but they believed that this should be an all-white place."

Growing up in Oregon, I've learned a lot, I've seen a lot. There is a city called Lake Oswego, they call it Lake No Negro, in a sense as a running joke because the only black people that live there now either play professionally, work for Nike, work for Intel... it's like a running joke. I never really truly understood it until I researched the history of Oregon. - CJ McCollum on race in America

Not only does Oregon have a sad history with the African American population, but the state also held Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

While race relations may be a stain on Oregon's history, it's an important part none the less. It is something that you look back on, learn about, and hope that your knowledge helps prevent us from ever repeating.  

It doesn't change the past, but the knowledge can help heal the wound.

As a black man, McCollum has a perspective that many of the fans who root for him can't understand. McCollum also happens to be engaged to a white woman. It's something that he is thankful for because it has allowed him to better understand a race experience wholly different than his own.

As a person who's marrying a white woman, I have a very good understanding of white race, I have a very good understanding of black race. My job as a guy who plays in the NBA, my job for my neighborhood and where I come from is to try to bridge the gap to allow people to understand my perspective, but also sharing my wife's perspective, her family's perspective. -- CJ McCollum on race in America  

McCollum also talked about how perception can create racism even if you don't know it. How people have an idea in their head of how a certain person, a certain race is supposed to act and when someone doesn't conform to that stereotype it throws people off. 

"I think there's a lot of preconceived notions as a black man on how we're supposed to behave, how we behave historically, how we act," said McCollum. "When you're a 'proper' black man, it catches people off guard, they're surprised. 'Oh, he's so well-spoken. He's so this, he's so that. He's so educated.' It's almost as if assume that since you're a black man you wouldn't be... it happens far too often."

However, it's not a one-way street, and McCollum admits it. As a young black man, McCollum said that he had many false narratives about the white community. Ideas of how white people should act, think, speak, etc. It wasn't until attending Lehigh University, and predominantly white university, that McCollum learned that his ideas were wrong. 

My perception has changed because of my experiences. I even had some biases or racism toward whites based on what I was taught, based on what I seen growing up, based on what you hear in the neighborhood. Then you go to an all-white school and you realize a lot of those things aren't true. There are great black individuals in this world, and there are ones who aren't doing things the way they're supposed to do. The same thing goes for the white race. -- CJ McCollum on race in America 

This is why the conversation about race in America is so important.

McCollum himself had his preconceived notions wiped away through experience and learning. 

If you just act like an ostrich and bury your head in the sand, you'll never get a chance to listen and learn from someone else's experience. 

You may have negative stereotypes in your head about certain populations and not even realize it. But through listening and learning, you, too, can begin to bridge the gap and shift the narrative.

McCollum is an NBA superstar. A person with a platform that millions of people can listen to. McCollum has done his part, he took to the time to speak. 

Now it's time for us to listen and learn, and hopefully help create the change needed to make the world a better place. 

Trail Blazers are bubble bound

Trail Blazers are bubble bound

The Trail Blazers are on their way to resume the 2019-20 season in the Orlando bubble.

All 22 participating teams will be in Orlando by the end of the week after teams started arriving at the Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday.

The Trail Blazers should be able to settle in at their Disney Yacht Club hotel by 8:00 p.m. local Orlando time.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said goodbye to his fiancée and his son Dame Jr. at the airport this morning. The Blazers will spend a minimum of 5 weeks in the bubble.


[RELATED]: Trail Blazers return to play schedule in Orlando released

The Clippers, Thunder, Celtics, Pelicans, Kings, Grizzlies, Heat, Wizards, Jazz, Nuggets, Nets, and Suns all touched down in Orlando earlier this week.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

As for Portland, the Trail Blazers will now quarantine for the next day and a half before training camp practice begins on Saturday evening in Orlando. We will hear from the Blazers via a Zoom call following their first practice.   

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Former Blazer Patty Mills will donate every cent of NBA salary to fight racism

Former Blazer Patty Mills will donate every cent of NBA salary to fight racism

Patty Mills wants to put an end to racism and he’s willing to donate his remaining NBA salary to do so. 

When the NBA restarts in Orlando, the San Antonio Spurs guard will participate, but with the goal of tackling racial inequality. Mills, an Australian native, will donate the approximately $1,017,818.54 he earns in the eight games scheduled at the Disney World campus to Black Lives Matter organizations. 

"I'm playing in Orlando because I don't want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to Black communities," Mills said in the video. 

Mills, who played in Portland for two seasons from 2009-11, said the salary will be going to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody, and We Got You, a campaign he helped organize that is dedicated to ending racism in sport in Australia.

For the first time in my career, I have white people — teammates, old teammates, old coaches — telling me they never knew the level of racism in sport, especially in Australia. They haven’t felt comfortable asking me, as a black Australian, about racism before. Which speaks to the impact and value of the Black Lives Matter movement and the millions who have participated in protests around the world.”

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

The NBA’s commitment to social justice causes will also be prominent in the league's return. The NBA is allowing players to make personalized statements on their jerseys through the remainder of the season.

Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has chosen the statement “How Many More?” according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports. Lillard’s backcourt mate, CJ McCollum, will use his jersey to make a statement about education reform in the Black community. 

Teams are slowly arriving to the NBA bubble this week. The Trail Blazers will arrive on Thursday around 7:00 p.m. local time and are among eight arrivals of the 22 teams participating in the league’s restart. 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Jusuf Nurkic announces Bosnian Beast clothing line

Jusuf Nurkic announces Bosnian Beast clothing line

Jusuf Nurkic might just be a fashion icon. 

The Blazers big man hasn't played in a game since March 25, 2019 when he broke his leg against the Brooklyn Nets, but he has been making great use of some of his spare time.

While hitting the rehab trail, Nurkic was an ever-present body on the Portland bench. 

Fans loved seeing Nurk in the arena, but they also loved to see what he was going to be wearing. 

From the stylized suits to his graphic tees, Nurkic was always dressed to impress. 

Now he is taking that sense of fashion he has put on display for years in Portland and turning it into his own brand. 

On Wednesday, Nurkic took to social media to announce the Bosnian Beast clothing line. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

For a very limited time, July 10th through the 13th to be exact, fans can head to TheBosnianBeast.com to buy their favorite Nurk merch.

While the news of the new line was great to hear, those with a keen eye may have noticed Nurkic dropping hints on social media in recent weeks and wearing some of the merchandise during workouts. 

Something tells me Nurkic is gonna have no problem pushing his new product in Rip City.



Trail Blazers preparing for no home-court advantage

Trail Blazers preparing for no home-court advantage

A lot has been made about no fans attending NBA games in the Orlando bubble. 

The phrase, 'it'll be interesting' keeps coming up when talking to players and coaches about the resumption of the season with no spectators. 

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins said that this unique situation isn’t going to force him to adjust his game or his trash talking.  

I'm not going to change. So y'all might hear some pretty vulgar language coming out of my mouth, but, you know, I don't know... We'll see. I'll try to play it by ear. I don't want to change how I play and how I talk. But, we'll see. -- Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins

Okay, now that we’ve been forewarned, we’ll be ready for all the smack talk. 

The league has been working with both national and regional television broadcast crews on the challenge of what should, and what will ultimately be heard over the airwaves.

There have been several ideas floated out there to how the television broadcast will look and feel, which includes the possibility of pumping out crowd noise to help out the 'home team.' 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Besides potentially hearing the players on the court a bit more than usual (or maybe a lot more), the players themselves have realized the experience without fans is part of the restart that they will need to adjust to quickly.

Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony mentioned this week that it will become obvious who really feeds off the crowd and needs that extra motivation.   

"We as athletes, we rely on the fans to get momentum, and that's how you make runs, and that's how you get back in the game with your fans," Melo said on a Zoom call Tuesday. "Guys is not going to have that, so you're going to be tested to see how motivated you are as an individual. How much self-motivation you have to go out there and get yourself going and motivated to go play in front of no one. So you have that aspect." 

[RELATED]: Carmelo Anthony on playing the 3 again: "Today in this game it’s positionless"

Could the Trail Blazers coaching staff be more of a factor in a tiny gym with very limited people in attendance?

Portland’s coach Terry Stotts doesn’t believe so.

“I don't see the staff being more vocal because if you watch them during the game most coaches are pretty much into the game,” Stotts said Wednesday ahead of the Blazers traveling to Orlando on Thursday. “It's going to be interesting how the game is run, how the game looks on television, if they pipe in some sound and if the game in person is going to feel different than the game that you see on television. I'm pretty sure the league has a lot of plans in both those areas, but certainly… I don’t know if home-court exists right now. It might even be a better test of each team to winning and losing and not basing it on home-court. So that's going to be interesting. But, to answer your question, a lot of things now is just kind of speculation.” 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts maps out Portland's practices in Orlando 

Even though the players have said they've thought a lot about and even discussed with each other their expectations on having no crowd support, Coach Stotts is right; we are all just speculating right now.  

The good news is, we now have just a little more than three weeks to continue to speculate until the 2019-20 NBA season resumes on July 30. 

Damian Lillard will be proven right about players breaking the bubble

Damian Lillard will be proven right about players breaking the bubble

There has been a considerable amount of apprehension as the NBA gets set to resume the 2019-20 season. One such concern is that not all of the players that enter the bubble will stay in the bubble.

Will there be players who break Orlando bubble protocol?

Well, with the handful of teams that have already touched down in Orlando, Florida to spend a minimum of five weeks at the Walt Disney World campus, the food situation is suspect. Not to mention trying to keep players from leaving the bubble may not be an easy task even if there were appetizing food options. But, more on that in a moment.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard doesn’t have a whole lot of faith that other players won’t break the bubble rule.

My confidence ain't great. My confidence ain't great because you're telling me you're gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don't follow all the rules. I don't have much confidence. But hopefully it'll be handled to a point where we're not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position. -- Damian Lillard

But luckily for Lillard, he's a homebody or, in this case, a hotel-body during a normal NBA season.

“I know there's going to be activities for us and all that stuff, but I mean, I'm gonna be chilling. I feel like there's still a possibility for something to spread within that bubble, just with so many people doing so many different things that we've got to follow to be safe, even though we're not exposed to the public. So for me, it's going to be: What time is practice, what time can I get in the weight room, what time can I get some shots up, what's the plan for game day. And then I'm gonna be in the room. I'm gonna have my PS3, my PS4, I'm gonna have my studio equipment, my mic, my laptop, I'm gonna have all my books. That's it, man. I'm gonna be in the room, chilling.”

A handful of the 22 teams that are part of the NBA restart have already arrived in Orlando with teams traveling to the bubble from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Once the teams arrive they will be tested for COVID-19 and will isolate for up to 48 hours, before being tested again and begin practicing as a team.

Of course, once in the bubble players are not allowed to leave the premises.

The thought of NBA players being eliminated from the outside world and only eating the meals provided was already concerning, but then once Nuggets shooting guard Troy Daniels and Nets two-way player Chris Chiozza showed off their food in the bubble all bets were off that players will have the willpower to stay in the bubble.

As one would imagine, social media took off after seeing the brown paper bag meal.

People joked that this NBA provided food would not be up to superstar LeBron James’ standards.

Players have received a reported 113-page document outlining all the protocols and rules once inside the bubble. A player who leaves campus will be quarantined for at least 10 days and will have to undergo deep-nasal testing. 

During a Zoom call Wednesday, Blazers coach Terry Stotts mentioned that it is unfortunate that his team won’t be able to bond as a group as much during their time in the bubble due to the protocol that players can't go into each other's rooms. But, Stotts did say there will be places for his team to congregate.   

Stotts also added, “I’m hopeful that everybody understands the seriousness of it… I give our players a lot of credit, not only on our team, but in the league. I think they understand what's at stake -- from a personal standpoint, a health standpoint, and a league standpoint, so I'm optimistic that that everybody's going to do what they're supposed to do.”

For now that’s all we can do, be as optimistic as Coach Stotts that the Orlando bubble will remain a bubble.  

Trail Blazers select which social justice statements they'll be wearing

Trail Blazers select which social justice statements they'll be wearing

For the past couple of weeks, the NBA and NBPA have discussed placing social justice messages on the back of jerseys rather than their last names.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has chosen the statement of “How Many More?” to be worn on the back on his jersey.

The personalized statements on NBA uniforms are part of the NBA’s efforts to deliver social justice messages and not detract from the current movement while play resumes. The players had a total of 29 different messages they could choose from, such as "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe." The statements are designed to support either a social or charitable cause.

The reported list of approved social messages includes:

Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Lillard’s backcourt mate CJ McCollum informed the media on Monday of his uniform statement.

I chose ‘Education Reform’ because I’m big on education. I think that's really important and something that we lack especially in certain communities, black communities, people of color and communities where kids are at a disadvantage.

I think there needs to be more light on that. So that's kind of been my focus and will continue to be my focus. Obviously, there's a lot of stuff that needs fixing in this world, but historically I focus on education. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

Jusuf Nurkic has reportedly chosen to wear "Equality." Rookie Nassir Little has chosen "Black Lives Matter."

The Blazers have discussed how they plan to continue the social injustice conversations while in Orlando.  

Both Lillard and Blazers coach Terry Stotts have voiced their thoughts on the opportunities that will arise once all 22 NBA teams are in the Orlando bubble.

Obviously there will be a lot of eyes on us in Orlando. So I do agree with the fact that it’s an opportunity for us to make statements with the amount of people that’s going to be watching -- whether that’s together, before games, during games, after games, TV commercials, whatever that might be, I do see some opportunities in that.  -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

Professional athletes all over the country have been participating in nationwide protests, while also using their social media platforms to be active in social justice messaging following the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.

All 22 NBA teams will arrive in the Orlando bubble by late Thursday evening.