Damian Lillard lives and breathes for the Portland Trail Blazers.
He’s made it clear that he’d rather retire without a ring than pursue glory somewhere else.
And while that may seem questionable by today’s standards, it’s surely worthy of respect, especially among his younger colleagues.
That’s just one of the many reasons why Lillard and some of his younger teammates get along so well.
He respects them, and that goes both ways.
At least, that’s how he felt after becoming the franchise’s all-time leading scorer during the win over the Charlotte Hornets:
“I don’t know how to describe it. It made me feel old a little bit,” Lillard said. “Just the appreciation from my teammates. I don’t big bro them even though a lot of them are much younger than me and probably grew up watching me in the NBA when they were in high school. But tonight, to hear them say congratulations, it was almost admiration in their voice and respect. I knew it was there, but tonight I felt it even more.”
"I don't 'big bro' them."
— NBA (@NBA) December 27, 2022
Lillard’s leadership has been pivotal in the Blazers’ surge under Chauncey Billups.
The team got younger, which doesn’t always translate to success, but his work ethic has set the standard for the rest of the team.
So, even though Lillard still doesn’t get the praise and recognition he should get from the mainstream media or most fans, it’s nice to know that at least his teammates truly appreciate him and what he’s done for the franchise.