Dime #72: Damian Lillard is the Most Exciting NBA Rookie Since LeBron James

We’ve been waiting to drop this news on our readers. With the (relatively) slow NBA news morning, we figured now would be a great time to hype the new issue of Dime Magazine and cover subject, the electric Damian Lillard.

We’ll be releasing his cover story in this space in the coming days, along with other features from the issue. In the meantime, here’s my letter from the editor, giving you an idea of the thought process behind giving the cover to a guy less than 50 games into his NBA career:

Thank God for the NBA League Pass. Yeah, the service has its issues (Somehow, inconceivably, you are still not able to watch every game in HD), but at its core, League Pass is a fantastic tool for seeing on a regular basis what most basketball fans outside of the NBC/ESPN/TNT realms do not. The ever-increasing rise of NBA apps, Twitter and Instagram as tools to virtually “watch” NBA games with millions of other fans is closing the gap quickly, but there still is nothing available to equal the luxury of being able to tune in to live games on your TV.

For us at Dime, this year’s most compelling League Pass phenomenon has been the work of Portland’s Damian Lillard. The Blazers barely get a sniff when it comes to national TV coverage, so the majority of NBA fans have only really seen Lillard’s work on TV highlight packages or coverage on Youtube, at dimemag.com, or any number of other basketball sites fighting to be heard.

We’ve been fascinated by Lillard from the jump and we’re putting him on the cover just an issue after highlighting him as a player who will shape the future of the game in Dime #71. The guy plays with a dynamic, explosive fervor that goes against the grain of his consistent, steadfast, placid demeanor. He’s so even-keeled under the bright lights we have to continuously remind ourselves that he’s just a rookie. In a basketball universe where young players go to the League early with little to no coaching discipline in their past, and their maturity is constantly in question, Lillard is truly a rare find.

We sent Dime writer Andrew Greif to Portland to spend time with Damian for his first magazine cover shoot. Check out Andrew’s solid cover story on Lillard and learn what makes Damian an unflappable, budding star.

You’ll be shocked to know that Lillard wasn’t the least bit fazed by the moment.

— Patrick Cassidy, Editor & Co-Founder

What do you think of the new cover?

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