Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard doesn’t get the obsession of current NBA players about winning a championship ring.
Joining in J.J. Reddick’s Old Man & a Three podcast, the All-Star guard reiterated his absence of desire to ride the league’s exsiting ring culture.
“I feel like I play for the love of the game. I want the competition, I want to know what it feels like to win, I want to see my teammates do well, I want to see my teammates get paid, I enjoy the bonding part of it — we spend more time with each other than anybody — but now, it’s like, ‘that don’t count, regular season don’t count, get a ring,” Lillard said.
“This guy’s the MVP, this guy did this.’ What is this stuff? I don’t want to make it about my situation, but I was talking after a game like a week ago and somebody was asking me about to win a ring, and I’m like I don’t need to prove to y’all that I want to win a ring. Why the hell do I play? While I understand we play to win championships — we all want to win the championship — we can’t keep acting like nothing matters.
“Like the rest of this stuff, the journey, doesn’t matter. We can’t keep doing that. I feel like there’s so many ways that the league is different, and I think about it all the time where I’m like, man, I don’t know if I can just play a long, long time, because I don’t enjoy what the NBA as a whole is becoming.”
Lillard, 34, stands as the most notable player in the league who boasts his loyalty to his team – the Blazers, who drafted him for the sixth-pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.
With over 10 years have passed and tons of ups and downs with Portland, a title remains elusive for Lillard. Despite heckling and recruitments he is receiving for being a ringless star, the future hall of famer is convinced that life is much bigger than basketball.
“I have a real life. I think that’s the best way to put it. I don’t like my life as ‘Damian Lillard.’ I go home, I play with my kids, I go to my mom’s house, I hang out with my cousins. I have a life. I talk to my grandmother on the phone. My uncle calls me, and we talk on the phone all night about regular stuff. I have a life that’s stable, and it’s not based upon who I am as an NBA player…
“I don’t sit here and just think about ‘I need to leave’ all the time… When my career is over, y’all are not about to be talking about me. Y’all are gonna be talking about Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, whoever, when I’m done playing… Why am I going to be sitting here overly concerned with what every single person has to say about me when they don’t know my life. They don’t think about me when they get off of that camera, and when I’m done playing, they won’t think about me. They don’t think about Michael Jordan, so why are they gonna think about me? Why should I be concerned with it.”