The new NBA is pushing Dame away from the game.
Damian Lillard has been balling out for the Portland Trail Blazers this season. He is averaging a career-best 32.1 points so far, and he dropped a historic 71 markers versus the Houston Rockets earlier this month. Portland is on pace to miss the playoffs but Lillard is undeniably playing better than ever.
On JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast, however, the NBA 75th Anniversary Team member vented out his frustrations with today’s NBA. According to the Blazers main man, the league has changed for the worse since the time he got drafted in 2012.
“When I got into the league, you had to earn not just what you get from the team… you had to earn your space on the team… The NBA I play in now is not the NBA I came into,” Lillard said.
That was just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest of his problems with the NBA’s current landscape is the prevalence of the so-called ring culture. As the discussion continued, Dame got to explain how draining it is whenever the media pushes the narrative that winning a championship is the only thing that matters in the game.
“While I understand that we all play for championships, we all want to win a championship, we can’t keep acting like nothing matters, like the rest of the stuff, the journey doesn’t matter. We can’t keep doing that.”
Clearly, the seven-time NBA All-Star isn’t happy about some of the trends that have taken over the league. And clearly, they’ve been frustrating enough that Lillard has contemplated retiring earlier than he wants to.
“There are so many ways the league is different… I just don’t know if I can play a long, long time because I don’t enjoy what the NBA as a whole is becoming,” Lillard revealed.
Dame has endured a lot in his career. The hope is that he can endure some more for the sake of Portland, for the sake of his fans. Who knows? Maybe he’ll even get to prove his detractors wrong along the way.