Damian Lillard hears the noise.
Over the past week, the worldwide leader in sports has reverted back to sluggish basketball analysis where it pleads for Portland's point guard to leave for a big market such as Los Angeles or New York.
Last Friday, Knicks fan Stephen A. Smith pleaded for Lillard to force a trade to a large market not once, but twice within 24 hours after Dame hit a stepback game-winning three to defeat Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
In the clip Smith posted, he said he wants Lillard going to a big market so basketball fans can watch him every night. Smith works for ESPN, a national broadcast partner of the NBA who can choose to put on as many Trail Blazers games as they want. The reasoning for his frustration is because his outlet is too lazy to do their jobs correctly.
Want more evidence?
In the same 24 hour period, ESPN ran segments asking if Devin Booker (whose Phoenix Suns have the NBA's second-best record), Luka Doncic (who appears to be an MVP candidate in Dallas), and now Damian Lillard (whose Blazers are fifth in the West) should force their way to the New York Knicks.
Want even more evidence?
In the aftermath of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, ESPN ran a headline stating "Giannis, Curry shine as Team LeBron topples Team Durant."
It makes sense Giannis, who won the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP Award, to be featured, but Curry?
Dame and Steph both shot 8-16 from three-point range but Lillard outscored him, 32-28, and had the game-winning jumper from half-court.
Additionally, Dame hit not one, but two half-court shots (one for each bad Stephen A. Smith take) in the All-Star game on top of scoring his team's final 11 points.
Still, ESPN decided that performance was not worth being featured in the headline.
On Twitter, Trail Blazers fan Scott Nichols pointed out ESPN's headline and linked it to the ridiculous narratives pushed by the network as of late.
Lillard noticed and quote tweeted it with a meditation emoji.
He hears the noise, but he will continue to pave his own path... in Portland.
"I don’t think you absolutely need a bigger market when you’re doing things the right way," said Lillard. "You can capture the attention of people, you do things that bring people’s attention to you, I think that you can build up a market and make that market more than what it was."
With a superstar like Lillard, it's only a matter of time before Portland's elevated in terms of national coverage.