When Damian Lillard isn’t cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in the NBA, he spends his time off the court developing that fighter mentality.
Every offseason, the Trail Blazers guard trades in his Dame 7s for boxing gloves and steps inside the ring in preparation for the upcoming year. Lillard told NBA on ESPN’s Eric Woodyard that he uses his boxing workout routine as fuel for the game.
“I tell people all the time, hoop is like the love of my life,” Lillard said. “I don’t even consider that a sport to me, that’s a part of my life. My favorite sport to watch, I love boxing. I’m on the court every day of the offseason, but I be like I don’t need to trip off that, I need that. I need that video of my boxing training.”
Lillard detailed a typical day in the offseason which includes beginning his day at 7:00 a.m. with lifting and conditioning until about 8:15 a.m., then he puts on his gloves from 8:15 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. and goes through eight to ten minute rounds, and finally, he heads to the Trail Blazers practice facility to take the basketball court.
And the six-time NBA All-Star doesn’t just train with anyone in the boxing ring, of course Lillard only trains with the best.
“The guy who I train with to this day, he trains David Benavidez too,” Lillard said. “He started off with footwork, and then it was head movement, and then there was jabs. And then it went from I get in the ring and he got like a stick at the end with a glove on it where I’m working on my movement like that, and then it got to the point where he put gloves on his fist and I’m in front of somebody that can really fight now, and if you don’t move your head, you’re going to get hit.”
While Lillard doesn’t feel there’s a ton of crossover between the two sports, he does credit boxing with helping him develop his ridiculous deep ball range. The Trail Blazers long-range assassin takes more shots from 30 to 40 feet than any other player in the NBA and it has made him legitimately one of the more dangerous scoring threats.
“I feel like I’ve been able to shoot the ball easier from deep probably because my shoulders are now broad now," Lillard said. "I’m stronger up top because this is hard to do, it’s hard to keep your hands up, you feel it and I felt like in small ways like that it’s probably played a part.”
Lillard is always one to challenge himself and that offseason training continues to pay big dividends for the Trail Blazers. This season, Lillard is averaging 29.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game while shooting 38% from the three-point range while carrying a Portland team that is currently sixth in the West.