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NBA

Why does Damian Lillard want to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers

In a sport where players can move at the drop of a hat, the star point guard’s loyalty to his team and his own ideals is something to appreciate.

Update:
Why does Damian Lillard want to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers
Troy WayrynenUSA TODAY Sports

Despite constant speculation, Portland’s franchise player has made it crystal clear that he would love to finish his career with the team. Of course, he’d also like to win a title before that happens.

Damian Lillard doesn’t want to leave the Portland Trail Blazers

Loyalty is something one doesn’t see so often in professional sports today. Damian Lillard, however, isn’t you’re average professional athlete. Having spent his entire career with the Blazers, one might think the star point guard would be interested in a new challenge. Lillard on the other hand, has no intentions of jumping ship and moreover would like actually like to finish his career in Portland. During a recent appearance, the former NBA rookie of the year was enthusiastic about his desire to stay.

“I do. I do,” Lillard replied when asked if he’d still like to end his career with the Blazers. “I’ve had my share of people saying, ‘Man, you got to get out of there. You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.’ But I’m the type of person that I’m never going to be marching to the beat of nobody else’s drum. I’m going to always do what I feel like is in my best interest and that I really feel in my heart. ...I want to win. I want to win in Portland. It would mean something to me to do it here. ... This is me being loyal to who I am, and how I feel and what I want to see happen. I would love to finish my career here. That’s my plan, and that’s that.”

It’s a question of loyalty for Damian Lillard

Consider for a moment, that among active players, only Steph Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors have been with the team that drafted them long than Lillard. Drafted back in the 2012 NBA Draft, Lillard has become the foundation on which the Blazers are built. That’s something that the six-time NBA All-Star is well aware of and intends to respect, but more importantly he also acknowledges that it’s about loyalty to himself as well.

“People say ‘He’s being loyal,’ and ‘loyalty this and loyalty that.’ And I’m naturally a loyal person,” Lillard said. “I do have a level of loyalty to the [Blazers] organization, but this loyalty that they’re talking about is ultimately to who I am as a person. I’m being loyal to who I am and not getting besides myself. I’m somebody that, I believe what I believe. I think I can get it done. Lillard didn’t stop there, as he went on to speak about Portland’s prospects in the future. “I feel like we’ll have a chance to win,” he added. “I feel like that moment is going to come. I feel like that opportunity is going to come, and that’s that. As long as I feel that our organization is putting their best foot forward and we’re on the same page about doing everything that we can do to win, then I’m willing to go out swinging.”

Damian Lillard wants to win but, on his terms

With his two-year, $122 million extension secured back in July, the Blazer and Damian Lillard are in it to win it and he believes he’s made the right choice, despite the attraction of joining with other big names in an effort to lift a championship trophy.

“I’ve always said that if I do something that goes against who I am, and say I do end up winning, I know me better than any of y’all know me. So I’d be happy with it, because I don’t think anybody wouldn’t be happy being a champion, but it wouldn’t be as fulfilling to me as I would want that moment to be,” Lillard said. “As long as I have an opportunity to do it, a good opportunity to [compete for a title], I’m willing to go out however.” Will Lillard find glory with the Blazers? While that may be up for debate, his loyalty to his own ideals and the franchise that’s invested heavily in him isn’t. Given how rarely we see such an approach today, that in itself could be counted as a win.

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