Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard calls playing on Martin Luther King Day an honor

Trail Blazers

When Damian Lillard takes the court on Monday in the Portland Trail Blazers game vs. the San Antonio Spurs, he hopes to honor Dr. Martin Luther King in all elements of his game.

The Trail Blazers star says it’s a “pleasure and honor” to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, who spent his life fighting against racism and the equality for all, a message that still resonates in today’s society.

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For me, it’s always an honor to play on Martin Luther King Day because when you look at our history, when you look at where we are now in this country, he’s the name that you think of whether you think about pushing that line and sacrificing his life, and standing up for the cause, and risking it all,” Lillard said in a recent interview with the Undefeated.

Every year in January, we honor the efforts of King, a drum major of justice, and celebrate his legacy as more than just a dream, but a change in policy.


After a tumultuous year of protestors pushing to reform police tactics, rioting to remove Confederate statues and people all over the country expressing outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others in the Black community, we are reminded that after King’s March on Washington nearly 60 years ago, wounds in our country never healed.

Lillard, who chanted "Black Lives Matter" and recited Floyd's name while marching across the Morrison Bridge in Portland back in June, realizes what MLK faced was so much greater than what protestors today are currently confronting.

“He really fought that fight in a much worse time than we have now,” Lillard said on the current political climate. “So, the most respect, he’s an icon in this country, not just in Black history. He’ll always be remembered and loved for his work and what he’s done for his people, and it’s always an honor to play on that day."

The Trail Blazers will welcome the San Antonio Spurs for the third game of a seven-game homestand. Tip-off for Monday’s game is at 12:00 p.m. PT and televised on NBC Sports Northwest, your home for the Portland Trail Blazers.