Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard embodies what it means to be loyal to a team. After being drafted by the Blazers in 2012 he has spent his entire eight-year career with the franchise.
The six-time all-star appeared on ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby last week and talked hoops with the two hosts. Lillard was asked just about everything basketball-related, including former Net’s legend Julius Erving’s comments about the current Brooklyn organization trying to buy a ring.
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Lillard Responds to Dr. J’s Negative Comments About the Nets
“I think that’s just the era that we are in. A lot of the media outlets are to blame for that,” Lillard said.
“We talk about the guys that don’t win a ring. Look how they talk about Charles Barkley.”
Charles Barkley made it to the NBA Finals one time in his career when he and the Phoenix Suns faced Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1992. Barkley who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award that season put up a worthy fight but still it was not enough for the Suns to overcome the Bulls as they would win yet another championship. Despite an illustrious career Barkley never won an NBA title.
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Nets Front Office Just Doing Its Job
The Nets have put together an impressive roster. People can complain about it all they want to, but the truth is that everyone would build a roster like the Nets have if given the chance.
After completing a trade for 2018 Most Valuable Player James Harden, the Nets added All-Stars Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge through the buyout market.
Unfortunately, a short time after Aldridge signed with the Nets, he discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat that would cut his career short. Aldridge, who is only 35, retired from the NBA shortly thereafter.
Dame Wants Blazers To Retire Aldridge’s Jersey
During his appearance on the show, Lillard spoke about his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate’s announcement about his retirement from the NBA. When the news was reported, Lillard gave his two cents on Aldridge and how he thinks the seven-time All-Star should be honored.
“I was shocked to see the news on Twitter and immediately reached out to him,” Lillard said.
“We played my first three years in the league and had a good run. It’s time for blazers to retire his number”.
Lillard and Aldridge spent three seasons with each other in Portland before Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs. In those three years, the tandem took over as franchise players and led Portland back into playoff contention. Aldridge would become the second-leading scorer in Trail Blazer history, (a record that would be later broken by Lillard) while a young ‘Dame Dolla’ would become a well-known name around the league.
Lillard & Aldridge Had Their Struggles
A few seasons after signing with the San Antonio Spurs, Aldridge spoke to Vice Sports about the trouble he had communicating with Dame when they were playing together.
“It’s always tough for me to find that balance where I want to tell [Damian] not to do this or this is better. But I don’t want him to feel like I’m trying to hold him back from being who he wants to be,” Aldridge said via Bleacher Report.
“I do regret not talking to him at times, but also, I feel like he was trying to find himself.”
There was a time where a reunion seemed likely between the two, as Aldridge later admitted in an interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic in March 2019.
“I keep telling him I’m going to come back and finish there,” Aldridge said via Bleacher Report.
“That’s something him and I have talked about—playing together again.”
Unfortunately, Aldridge and Dame will not get a chance to team back up again, but Lillard winning a title in Portland would be the ultimate tribute to his ex-teammate.