It is known around the league how good of a guy Damian Lillard is both on and off the court.
He doesn’t need the showmanship; he supports his community wherever he goes; he is someone a lot of players want to play with…
On Tuesday, the players spoke out and voted on who they think the best teammate in the NBA is via the 2019-2020 Twyman-Stokes award: The award, presented annually since the 2012-13 season, recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to the team.
This year’s recipient is New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.
But a familiar name has surfaced in the top-5 of this list: Damian Lillard.
Not surprised? Same.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon with special guest Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum].
Here’s how the voting played out: Holiday, Tobias Harris (Philadelphia), Kyle Korver (Milwaukee), Udonis Haslem (Miami) and Lillard in the top 5.
Just last week, Doris Burke praised Lillard for his efforts in the community.
"Well, the first person who comes to mind is [the Portland Trail Blazers guard] Damian Lillard. This goes, Isaac, to the point that I made earlier about these are men who are contributing to their respective communities long before the national spotlight became white hot on this. Damian Lillard grows up in Oakland, and he has never forgotten where he’s come from. He goes to college in Utah, and he plays his entire professional career to this point in Portland.
Lillard was absolutely stellar throughout the eight seeding games in a tight battle for the final seed in the Western Conference playoffs this season. Unfortunately, Portland’s playoff run ran its course in the first round, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, the Lakers are facing Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
A big topic of discussion during this NBA restart has been Butler’s leadership and his reputation for being a ‘bad teammate.’ CJ McCollum, who has been in the backcourt with Lillard for seven seasons now, sees a similarity between both Butler and Lillard: the will to win.
McCollum tweeted this out recently.
“Everyone doesn’t respond the same when they’re challenged by a teammate! We have no problem challenging guys. The key is to back it up w/ work & allow people to challenge you too. Jimmy does both and he empowers his teammate & lets them flourish. Same thing D does.”
It’s a type of work ethic that is contagious.
Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here.