Damian Lillard is one of the NBA’s model players.
He leads his team. He works every offseason to improve his game whether it’s on the court or in the boxing ring, and he’s relentless in his pursuit to bring an NBA championship back to Rip City.
But despite being named NBA All-Star, All-NBA Second-Team and Most Valuable Player of the NBA seeding games during the 2019-20 season, Lillard isn’t satisfied.
“I get up every morning and I train my ass off,” Lillard said in early December. “I take care of my body. I don’t live a wild life. A lot of the steps that I take in my life are so that I can come out here and be at my best and play at the highest level so that I can win a championship for this organization and for this city.”
Lillard has become one of the league’s premier players since the Trail Blazers drafted him in sixth-overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s also become a role model for his colleagues, including Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal.
As the Wizards prepare for their season opener vs. the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Beal explained why Lillard is someone he holds in high regard.
“I would say a guy I always respect and admire is Dame,” Beal said. “I always liked Dame’s game. I watch him, just his work ethic.
One of the areas Lillard has continued to improve upon is shooting further and further away from the basket. He’s earned the nicknames “Sub Zero” and “Logo Lillard” for draining threes from super deep. Last season, he led the NBA with 54 threes from beyond 30 feet.
“Whether he takes a step back and shoots it further, I think he even shot a better percentage further away from the line than he did closer to the 3-point line,” Beal said. “And granted, I don’t know if you want to say that’s good or bad, but it just speaks volumes into him just putting things into his game. He’s a magnificent ball-handler, gets to the basket, manipulates defenses, so I definitely I admire Dame and what he does for sure.”
But the praise goes both ways. After seeing Beal's comments, Lillard simply responded: "Likewise my boy."
Lillard will certainly be launching more shots from half court this season. The five-time NBA All-Star said he aims to sink more shots from 35-feet and beyond this season… just not every game.
"Obviously, I'm not just going to be out here every game firing a shot from half court—or maybe not even every 20 games," he said. "It might be once or twice in the whole season that I feel like … F it."
The Trail Blazers open the preseason vs. the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Tip off is 7:30 p.m. PT on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.