Trail Blazers

Doris Burke praises community leadership of Damian Lillard

Trail Blazers

Doris Burke is arguably one of the greatest NBA television personalities to ever grace the game.

She is a pioneer for women in the sport, while her sideline presence and voice have become just as much a part of the game as the game itself.

She is a broadcasting G.O.A.T.

Her presence in the NBA Bubble has been incredible, prompting The New Yorker to take the time to pick the brain of once in a lifetime talent. 

One of the questions asked to Burke had nothing to do with what we see on the court. 

Rather, Isaac Chotiner asked Burke "Are there players you feel like are doing really great work who either you know and talk to or who should be spotlighted?" 

Quick. Who comes to mind? 

Odds are if you are a Trail Blazers fan you thought of the same player as Burke.

"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. That man had made significant commitments to each of those three communities, and he does so quietly and he does so without pumping his chest, and you’ll never hear him breathe a word of it. He just goes about his business trying to make positive change." - Doris Burke on Damian Lillard

From Oakland to Ogden to Oregon, there is a reason Lillard doesn't wear number zero but instead reps "The Letter O"

Lillard has continually given back to all three of those communities, each of which played a key part in making him the man he is today. 

Six years ago Lillard started the RESPECT program, a program that focuses on anti-bullying efforts, increasing school attendance and create a positive culture among high school students. 

 

He holds annual picnics in Oakland to help bring the community together, and in 2016 he helped renovate the gym and weight room that he once called home at Oakland High School.

There is also the time Lillard randomly showed up to a park in Portland, with almost no advance notice, to give away free shoes.

Or the time he spotted some kids shopping in an Adidas store and decided they could pick out whatever they wanted and he would foot the bill. 

These are just a few of the instances you can find of Lillard giving back.

He has done so much for the communities he has called home. Burke hit the nail on the head - "That man had made significant commitments to each of those three communities, and he does so quietly and he does so without pumping his chest."

Lillard proves that you don't need fanfare and the spotlight to know you are making a difference.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest CJ McCollum].