Damian Lillard sounds like he’s threatening early retirement

Damian Lillard was in the news on Wednesday for sounding like an old man during a performance JJ Redicks The old man and the three podcast. From saying that young players are entitled to worrying about the direction of the league and all the championship tropes that have followed him in between, if anyone wanted to write a thought about how Lillard sounds in step with that NBA on TNT Crew, the time is now.

I won’t do that, however, as a number of other sites had pre-written this aggregate. What I want to talk about here is this part of sitting.

“Bro, I don’t have to prove to y’all that I want to win a ring. Why the hell am I playing? I don’t have to prove that to you all. I understand that we play to win championships and we all want to win a championship, but we can’t pretend that nothing matters. Like the trip doesn’t matter. We can’t keep doing this. There are so many ways the league is different. There are so many possibilities. I think about it all the time, I don’t know if I can play long, long because I’m not enjoying what is becoming of the NBA as a whole.”

There’s a lot here, but let’s focus on the very last line.

“I think about it all the time like I don’t know if I can play long, long because I’m not enjoying what the NBA is going to be as a whole.”

Is that the music of Barry Sanders?

If Lillard retired after this year, he would finish with 11 seasons, one more than Barry Sanders and two more than Calvin Johnson. (I doubt Lillard will step down because, my god, look at this contract, but entertain me a few more paragraphs.) He’ll be a Hall of Famer like her. Not that it’s that hard in the NBA, but as a member of the All-75 teams and as the all-time leading scorer Portland Trail Blazer History, Dame Time certainly makes the cut.

It sounds like Lillard has nothing left to prove even if he doesn’t have a ring. The fans may not believe that. Actually, the fans don’t believe that 100 percent, and it sounds like that’s putting him off the game.

It reminds me a lot of Sanders’ retirement or even Johnson’s departure. Obviously, those falls were largely due to being members of the Detroit Lions their entire careers and almost never having any playoff success. But the core messages are the sameand that means: “I keep going because it’s no longer fun.”

Sanders was sick of making defenders miss in the backfield, Johnson was sick of dealing with back pain, and Lillard was sick of dealing with pain in the ass — more specifically, the people reporting his accomplishments don’t matter because they are not adorned with a ring.

An abrupt end when they appear to be in their prime wouldn’t be the only parallel, however. And what matters most, at least in terms of my reasoning, is player approval.

As long as fans are piecing together highlight reels of exciting NFL and NBA footage, Barry, Megatron and Dame will be there. They are featured because their greatness is irrefutable. The only people who have anything bad to say about these players are the ones who have a thing for titles, for arguments, for nonsense.

Check out the motherfucking games.

Tell me, Lillard isn’t one of the funniest players the NBA has ever had. Say it. Say you don’t like watching him play. This isn’t James Harden fluttering around for 40. Lillard is an assassin if ever there was an assassin. He had 71 points in a game this season and people were saying: “That’s not impressive.”

Why? Because it’s not on his Fourth contender in 10 years? Go to the playground immediately and try to imitate his game. It’s almost impossible to do. As a kid I used to set up chairs and bounce in and out with a football under my arm, not like Emmitt Smith because he had a lot of success. Like Barry Sanders, for turning grown men into trembling statues in the open field.

If Jrue Holiday ran a franchise for a decade, maybe kids would be playing defense instead of banging their wrists at clutch buckets. He did not do it. Lillard has. So enjoy it while it lasts because it sounds like it won’t be long now and definitely won’t end with Lillard hoisting Larry O’Brien in your team’s colors.*

*My colors are red and black, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to telling you to fuck off. If you want to read more about me defending Damian Lillard (or any of our other writers chiming in objectively), check out Deadspin’s Portland Trail Blazers team page.

https://deadspin.com/damian-lillard-nba-trail-blazers-barry-sanders-retire-1850232919 Damian Lillard sounds like he’s threatening early retirement

Ian Walker

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