Damian Lillard is unhappy with the NBA and where it’s headed. During a recent interview with JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast, Lillard, 32, spoke about his frustrations with the league’s ever-growing ring-chasing culture and entitlement growing among newer players.
“When I came into the league, you had to earn, not just what you get from the team,” he said. “You had to earn your space on the team. It was no, ‘Oh, you’re the sixth pick of the draft, it’s your team.’ What is this ‘your team’ stuff?”
“I think now the biggest difference is you don’t have that veteran presence. So you got players who are more talented than ever coming into the league, they’re getting picked 1,2,3,4,5, and they’re making more money than those picks ever made. Now only that, now you’re giving them the keys to the franchise.”
The dual-threat expressed that he doesn’t enjoy how fans speak about players, judging them on how many rings they have and disregarding their expansive skillsets on the court.
Furthermore, Lillard claimed that the “journey” aspect of building a team and growing with the same band of brothers in the new version of the league “doesn’t matter.”
“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.”
“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 the stuff, the journey doesn’t matter,” he asserted. “We can’t keep doing that. There’s so many ways that the league is different. There’s so many ways. I think about it all the time, 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.”
The Portland Trail Blazers selected Dame Dolla as the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. During his rookie season, he exceeded court expectations and was voted the National Basketball Association’s Rookie of the Year.
Since stepping into the league, the Oakland native has played all eleven seasons of his career with Portland.