Warning: This article is in no way meant to comment on the allegations presented against Chauncey Billups. This is to comment on the treatment of Damian Lillard by Portland Trail Blazers fans.
For years fans of the Portland Trail Blazers have touted themselves as the best fan base in all of basketball. This was personified by the fan base’s relationship with its star man and arguably the best player in the franchises 50+ year history.
Unfortunately, that relationship has been largely strained due to ignorance by Blazers fans who view themselves as Social Justice Warriors online. As stated earlier, I will not speak about the potential new head coach Chauncey Billups; it’s not my place to do so.
But lashing out on Damian Lillard for a decision made by general manager Neil Olshey is illogical and rather ridiculous. This is a widely regarded man, and one of the best teammates and leaders in the NBA. This is a man who has used his success to help his native neighborhood of Brookfield, California. This is a man who has done his best to better the Special Olympics and the people it helps. This is a man who was protesting on the streets of Portland following the murder of George Floyd.
However, fans who have done hardly anything to benefit any of these causes, even though in their mind registering online complaints is equivalent, have the nerve to question Lillard’s character.
Question Chauncey Billups’ character all you want. That’s your privilege and your right. But to question Damian Lillard’s character is ludicrous. Many of those who desire to do so should leave the fan base and never come back.
This man has stated numerous times that he would love to retire as a Blazer for life. Someone who has stated that one ring in Portland would mean more than multiple rings anywhere else. Someone who has loved Oregon so much that he helped most of his family move to various parts of the greater Portland area.
Yet, despite all of this, one ignorant, negligent arrogant sect of the fan base may alienate him out of the franchise. While the early reports are primarily from Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, and nothing has come straight from his mouth, none of this is surprising.
Why should he give his heart and soul to people that are willing to turn their back on him so quickly? Why reward these fans with a championship even though they feel they have the right to insult his character? The answer is he does not have to do anything for any of these people. Instead, he needs to prioritize himself, his family, his livelihood, and his legacy.
Let’s hope the day never comes that he requests a trade out of Portland, effectively ending this era of Portland basketball. But, if he does, the people that ripped on him online will have no one to blame but themselves.
It is easy to say you are dedicated and loyal to somebody when things are easy, but when things get tough and the chips are on the table, that’s when everything truly reveals itself.