Robert Covington shares how Damian Lillard welcomed him to the NBA

Robert Covington, Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Robert Covington, Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Many players say their “Welcome to the NBA” moment is getting baptized at the rim by one of their heroes or having their shot sent into the stands by a veteran big, but Robert Covington‘s was a little different. He credits his Portland Trail Blazers teammate and leader, Damian Lillard, for fully immersing him into the league.

After going undrafted out of Tennessee State University, Cov was signed to the Houston Rockets to add depth to a team that featured a future MVP in James Harden, a former DPOY in Dwight Howard, and an international sensation in Jeremy Lin.

RoCo was blessed to experience his first playoffs in his rookie season, getting the chance to watch his team duel against a rising squad in the Portland Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way Covington hoped. As Damian Lillard splashed a triple with 0.9 seconds left on the clock in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series to send the Rockets home for the summer, RoCo realized he was in the big leagues.

"“You see [moments like these] on TV, but seeing it in person is like, ‘I’m really in the NBA.'” – Robert Covington"

Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Robert Covington shares insight into his life with Whistle

Since then, Covington has gone from undrafted bench warmer to an All-Defensive First Team member and one of the most respected 3-and-D wings in the league. It seemed predestined that he would get to suit up alongside the NBA star that so cold-heartedly welcomed him into the league.

Recently, RoCo sat down with Whistle as part of their “Meet the Pets” series to talk about his love for reptiles, his journey to the NBA, his favorite shoes, why his biggest influence is the late Steve Irwin, and more.

The Portland Trail Blazers are desperately waiting on Robert Covington to return to his boa constrictor form of sorts, able to suffocate opposing offenses with his rotations, swallow up attackers, and hit kill strikes from deep.

Regardless of what’s next for RoCo in his NBA career, there’s no doubt that Steve Irwin would be proud of him.

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