Damian Lillard not only wants to be an NBA champion, but he wants to do it with the Portland Trail Blazers.
“Like, I can’t express my desire and how bad I want to win it,” Lillard said. “I want that more than anything. Not just to say I won a championship. But I want to do it in this city. I want to have a parade on Broadway and ride past El Gaucho (steakhouse). That’s what I think of. Every time the playoffs is starting, I’m going into it like, ‘Is this going to be the year that we shock the world or that we come up big?”’
The Blazers have won just one title in franchise history, beating the 76ers in 1977.
Lillard will soon turn 31 and is in his ninth NBA season. There could be major changes with Portland if they don't go on a playoff run.
“I mean, I see every year when we get to this point as pivotal,” Lillard told The Athletic. “Because at every point, it’s an evaluation: Where do we go from here? Like, can we get the job done as we are? And if not, where do we go from here? What is the change that needs to be made? That’s just what it is. And I don’t know where that change comes from, you know, maybe we … I don’t know if it’s moving players, I don’t know if it’s a coaching change … whatever it is that happens in the NBA, the changes that are made when you look at the postseason and what you consider success and failure, and things like that, and what changes you have to make to improve or give yourself a better chance. I think we’ve done a lot, and I think every year we get to this point and it’s like ‘What is it that will get us to where we want to be?’
“But I don’t think there is more (pressure). I just think we are further along the way, you know? This ain’t year five. Year five it’s like, ‘All right, it’s been five years …’ It’s been nine now. So I think that’s why it feels like more (pressure), but I don’t think it’s any different than it has been the last two or three years. I just think because we are further along the way it feels that way.”