Former Blazer Pat Connaughton recently dished out tons of praise to star Damian Lillard on J.J. Redick’s podcast. Here’s a look at how he responded.
“Rare” and “unreal” are some of the ways Portland Trail Blazers players have described their leader Damian Lillard.
“He’s the most humble superstar I ever met,” said Portland Trailblazer center Hassan Whiteside in an interview earlier this year with KOIN 6, a local Portland news station.
Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum said in a 2016 ESPN interview that Lillard was laid back, caring, and never put himself above other players.
Sunday, Lillard retweeted praise of his leadership from former teammate Pat Connaughton. The Milwaukee Bucks guard spoke about Lillard on New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick’s self-titled podcast last week.
Connaughton said Lillard was “awesome” and his relationships with every teammate inspire everyone on the team to help one another.
He also said during his first two seasons with the Blazers, Lillard helped him keep up his confidence and put in extra work at the gym.
Early in the 2019-2020 NBA season, 41% of general managers voted Lillard as the NBA’s best leader in an NBA.com survey.
Neil Olshey, Trail Blazers president of operations said in a 2016 interview with ESPN that Lillard embraces and empowers his teammates to be more than what other people might have thought they were.
“I just care about everybody else more than I care about myself,” said Lillard to KOIN 6 in March.
The NBA All-Star added his leadership style is “genuine” and that he strives to prove to his teammates that he means what he says and does.
On the podcast, Redick and Connaughton discussed Lillard’s authentic image.
“From the outside, Damian Lillard is the real deal to me,” Redick said. “Everything I’ve heard about him, anything anybody’s ever said to me about him—he’s just the real deal. I believe that culture is fostered by the leader.