Damian Lillard is no stranger to doing things his way in the NBA. The Portland Trail Blazers point guard made that much clear in the Chicago draft combine in the summer of 2012, when he was the only one of the top 10 prospects on hand who chose to take part in all the drills rather than duck the competition for fear of hurting his standing. Nearly two years, a Rookie of the Year honor and All-Star berth later, Lillard is taking the same approach when he heads to New Orleans for the All-Star celebration next weekend. Lillard will become the first player in NBA history to take part in five events during the All-Star festivities that run from Feb. 14-16: the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Friday night, the the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest on what's deemed State Farm Saturday night, and the All-Star game Sunday. As has always been the for the little-known prospect out of Weber State who has done such big things since making that strong first impression in Chicago, he said he's simply taking advantage of the opportunities that come his way. "A lot of people don't get the opportunity," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports by phone."So I just felt like it was something that had never been done, and I'm capable of doing all the things that need to be done in all the competitions, so I figured why not go out and be the first one to do everything and get that experience?" Being invited to compete in the three Saturday events is certainly a testament to Lillard's skill set, as he has sneaky-but-serious athleticism that will be on display during the dunk contest, impressive shooting range (40.5% from beyond the arc this season) that will come in handy during the three-point contest, and ballhandling skills that will serve him well in the skills challenge.
Damian Lillard to make history at NBA All Star weekend
USA Today | Feb 7