Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers steals from LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers steals from LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images | Steve Dykes


  • Damian Lillard has some words for fans who place too much importance on winning "the big one"
  • "Dame Time" has provided big moments for the Blazers despite them failing in the postseason
  • Lillard and the Blazers have a tough road to the playoffs once again this season

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard blessed the basketball world with the second 71-point explosion in the NBA this season against the Houston Rockets, but the fans' perspective on winning a title has taken its toll on him.

In a lengthy piece by ESPN's Baxter Holmes, Lillard reflected on his past 11 years in the league.

While the pursuit of greatness in the form of a Larry O'Brien trophy lingers, Lillard sees the lack of one being used as a point against players' legacies.

"We devalue people's body of work if you don't win a championship. I've shown up for 11 straight years... I'm available as much or more than anybody in the last 11 years, including last year when I only played [29] games for the first time [because of an abdominal injury.] I've been available more than anybody," Lillard said as quoted.

"The only thing I haven't done is win the championship. I think people don't give enough credit. We're in an era of, 'How many rings you got?' And, 'Well, this person didn't win [one].' That's why I want to win one so bad just to have that top off everything that I've already done."

Lillard, 32, etched his name as one of the league's must-watch youngsters when he sank the series-clinching three-pointer against the Houston Rockets during the 2014 playoffs and has had big performances since.

While Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry has definitely earned his flowers for his three-point shooting, Lillard also deserves his time in the limelight for extending his shooting range – something that he discussed in August 2019.

For all of his exploits in the NBA thus far, Lillard has not even gotten a whiff of an NBA championship as he and the Blazers have never made it out of the Western Conference Semifinals outside of their 2019 postseason run when they made the Conference Finals.

That run came to an end when they faced the Warriors, the same opponent who ousted them in the 2016 conference semifinals and 2017 first round, who now had the benefit of Kevin Durant and were promptly swept.

Lillard not being able to lead the Blazers to at least an NBA Finals appearance has been a point levied against him by his biggest detractors, but "Dame D.O.L.L.A." simply did not have the support that other big-market franchises have in terms of roster construction.

Not winning a championship might be something that haunts Lillard for the rest of his career, but he did make a point that there are league legends who also do not get their respect until now.

"I do think we discredit people for not having won a championship. The way they talk about Charles Barkley is crazy. It's Charles Barkley! It's crazy," Lillard stated.

The narrative surrounding Lillard's career has always been showing up to the big games but ultimately falling.

Despite the rumors of him wanting out prior to this season, "Dame Time" has always preferred that the pieces come to him in Portland.

It will be an uphill battle for Lillard and the Blazers with the West being another bloodbath this season, but if they find their stride and rattle off a winning streak, it would not be surprising to see them net an outright playoff seed when the regular season is over.

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trailblazers looks on during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 2018. Will Newton/Getty Images