It’s an unfortunate fact: Some regions and cities experience more violence than others. Many celebrities are no exception to this, especially if they grew up around it. For Damian Lillard, a point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, this was a way of life as he struggled to find a school where he could play basketball safely.
Damian Lillard is no stranger to violence
Growing up in Oakland, California was no joke. It was filled with violence, and life was hard for Lillard. That didn’t stop him, however. According to MJ2K All Day, in an effort to play basketball in a way that didn’t restrict him, Lillard switched high schools multiple times.
After getting out of basketball practice one night, three men surrounded Lillard. They demanded that he give them everything he had on him. In a moment that would define Lillard for the rest of his life, he said, “No.”
A fight broke out, and Lillard was able to hold his own. Realizing that he wasn’t just going to give up his belongings, one of the men pulled out a gun, and pointed it at him. Lillard gave up then, but it only made him more fearless.
Lillard went on to graduate from Oakland and was recruited to Weber State. It was a college that isn’t well known for its strong basketball players, but Lillard found success there. Schools like Duke and UCLA are doubtless looking back wondering what Lillard could have done for their teams.
Lillard’s family has also been the victim of violence
Some celebrities and their family members may find themselves the victims of violence because they are out in the public eye. As tragic as it may be, some people seem to think there is a relationship there that doesn’t exist. That wasn’t the case for Damian Lillard’s half brother Jahrell Lillard.
According to Mercury News, Jahrell Lillard was shot in the parking lot of a shopping mall while visiting Damian in March 2018. Two gang members spotted Lillard in the parking lot and apparently mistook him for a rival gang member. There were 21 shots fired, and five found their mark.
Lillard managed to reach the Clackamas Town Center Mall before collapsing. The NBA reports that he received first aid inside, and was rushed to the hospital. He remained in stable condition before being released.
His two assailants, Jeffrey C. Jessie, 20, and Taivon Campbell, 18, were both sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison. Lillard seems to be doing well, but it’s doubtless an experience that he will never forget.
Damian Lillard wants to transition to rapping
Many athletes who hit the big leagues struggle with what they’re going to do when they face retirement. Damian Lillard doesn’t seem to have an issue with it. He’s already making some major moves to transition into rapping. In fact, USA Today reports that this isn’t just a game for Lillard.
While some victims may prefer to keep quiet about their ordeal, Lillard is speaking out through his music. Part of what he raps about is being held at gunpoint.
Lillard is also involved in a rap feud with another NBA star turned rapper. Lillard was on the “The Joe Budden Podcast” and made some disparaging remarks that Shaquille O’Neal is just a basketball player who released a few rap songs, not a rapper.
The legendary Shaq obviously took offense to this. He was swift to release a diss track about Lillard’s lack of skills not only as a rapper but as a basketball player. Lillard hit back with his own song, but it all seems to be in good fun.
Even though Lillard is working on his rap career, this doesn’t mean his NBA career is over. It was recently announced that Lillard will be featured on the cover of NBA 2K21. Lillard’s teammates and fans have taken to Twitter to congratulate him for this well-deserved recognition.