Recently, I got involved in a Facebook argument over Weber State University’s men’s basketball team with a diehard Utah State University fan.
I try to avoid arguing on the internet, but I couldn’t resist this time. The only reason why I got involved in the argument was because someone had said that WSU wasn’t a good team, and the win over USU was lucky. He also questioned the team’s ability and said that Damian Lillard was cocky and overrated.
After I commented and defended WSU by explaining that they have one of the best teams in the state, and that Damian Lillard is the best player in the state, I started thinking that not only is he amazingly talented, he is one of the nicest athletes I’ve worked with.
Over the weekend, WSU lost its first game of the year, but Lillard more than cemented a solid claim to the title of best player in the state. He had a huge game, tying a career-high with 36 points. Lillard also became the leading scorer in the nation.
Following that game, in which for much of the game Lillard single-handedly carried the Wildcats and kept the game close, Lillard showed that besides being one of the top point guards, he’s also one of the most humble. He said that being the leading scorer, doesn’t mean that much to him. He would have rather won the game.
Toward the end of the WSU game against USU, after it was clear USU wasn’t going to win, Aggie point guard Brockeith Pane exchanged words with Lillard and got in his face. Throughout it all, Lillard remained calm and closed out the game, playing with a high level of intensity. After the game, Lillard said that he didn’t get involved in the scuffle with Pane but just played harder because if Pane was going to act like the game wasn’t over, Lillard was going to play like it was still the first half.
Following the win against USU, I saw another example of how classy Lillard is. The post game press conference was packed with reporters from many newspapers across the state. Multiple times people tried to get Lillard to say that WSU was the best team in the state, but he didn’t take the opportunity to brag or say that WSU was better than any other school. All he said was that the team this year can compete with anyone.
Anyone who follows Lillard on Twitter probably knows he seems like a classy guy. He constantly tweets about being thankful for what you have and working hard to achieve goals, while some people may put up a front on Twitter and act differently than they do in real life. As someone who has interviewed Lillard on multiple occasions, I can attest he is one of the nicest, most down to earth people I’ve ever met.
The first time I had to interview Lillard was over the summer, and I was amazed at what a nice guy he was. I had set up a time to interview him over the phone but wasn’t able to get a hold of him the first time because he’d gotten busy and forgotten that I was going to call then.
When he called me back, I was blown away at how nice and accommodating he was. He apologized thoroughly for missing the call and then talked to me as if I was a friend that he’d known for years.
So, if anyone else thinks Lillard is cocky or overrated, don’t worry Damian, I’ve got your back.