Damian Lillard To Participate In A Record 5 All-Star Weekend Events
Many NBA players view All-Star Weekend as a chance to rest up, kick back, and enjoy some much deserved time off. But Trail Blazers sophomore point guard Damian Lillard doesn’t have that same kind of attitude. He rather has the attitude of doing as much as you can during the weekend and make the most of the opportunity to have some fun on the basketball court. That is why he is participating in five events during All-Star Weekend. That’s right, five!
The events he’ll be in are the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, featuring rookies and second year players), Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Footlocker Three-Point Contest, Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, and the All-Star Game itself. Lillard is putting himself into the history books by being the first player to ever participate in this many All-Star Weekend festivities, and I think it’s great.
It’s actually great for many reasons. One of the reasons being that Damian Lillard is one of the league’s brightest young stars, averaging 20.6 points per game and 5.7 assists, and he plays in a small market up in Portland, Oregon. Not many casual fans have paid much attention to him since he plays in such a small market, and then played collegiate basketball at tiny little Weber State up in Ogden, Utah. Another reason why this is so great is because he’s actually soaking up the All-Star experience as much as possible, and that is refreshing to see. It’s refreshing to see such enthusiasm for the game from such a young player. It shows that these young players still are very much youthful despite being such talented professionals in the most competitive sports league in the world.
Hopefully more young players take note of what Damian Lillard is doing here. I’m not saying every young player who can do five All-Star events should do five All-Star events, but I am saying that they should be eager to participate in the All-Star Weekend and not shy away from the big stage. They should view it as a time to have some fun on the basketball court and be as relaxed and loose as possible since there is truly no pressure at all in any of these All-Star events even though we do see the competitive juices start to come out at certain moments. All-Star Weekend is a celebration of the league’s most talented players and also a celebration of the game of basketball itself. Damian Lillard recognizes this and truly is seizing the moment. I wish him the best of luck at All-Star Weekend and the Portland Trail Blazers success in the second half of the season.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord