The NBA is the role model for sports leagues around the nation and the world. Now more than ever, the league possesses incredibly mature, smart, and original star players who are encouraged to show their personalities. Players like LeBron James have come from humble beginnings to become superstars that not only give back, but openly discuss topics outside of the gym. Many players have an open dialogue with fans, create their own side hustles and diminish the idea that they’re unreachable to the public. They, just like us, have hobbies, goals, dreams, and aspirations, and we know this because they’ve allowed us in more than ever before.
Take Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers star guard who’s already released his fourth adidas signature shoe, his second album, and has become one of the most well-respected players in the game today. Coming from Brookfield, a small community in Oakland, Lillard was raised playing basketball on telephone pole backboards and milk crate hoops.
A two-star high school athlete, Lillard played at Weber State University, a mid-major school not known for it’s basketball success. Despite the lack of national awareness at Weber State, Lillard would thrive in Ogden, Utah and play three seasons with the Wildcats, averaging close to 25 points and becoming the Big Sky Player of the Year.