Most NBA players like to take it easy during All-Star Weekend, especially when they’re in the actual All-Star game. But Damian Lillard apparently has a different take on what this weekend should be all about. The Portland Trail Blazers point guard is set to make NBA history by appearing in five different All-Star events.
First off, the second-year player from Weber State was added to the Western Conference All-Star Reserves. In addition to this, he’ll also be in the Slam Dunk Contest, Rising Stars Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Skills Challenge. In the latter, Lillard will try to defend his 2013 Skills Challenge title. And he’ll hope to become the first Trail Blazer to win the Slam Dunk or Three-Point Contest.
So why would a guy wear himself out during the All-Star Weekend? As Lillard told USA Today, he believes that doing five different contests is too good of an opportunity to pass up, plus the contests aren’t as physically taxing as one might think. Here’s an excerpt from the USA Today column:
“A lot of people don’t get the opportunity,” Lillard told USA TODAY Sports by phone. “So I just felt like it was something that had never been done, and I’m capable of doing all the things that need to be done in all the competitions, so I figured why not go out and be the first one to do everything and get that experience?” […]
As Lillard knows, though, there will be some who question his decision to take on so many tasks during this time that serves as a much-needed breather for most of his colleagues. And as is typically the case when it comes to Lillard, he’s not concerned with the critics.
“The skills competition takes two minutes on the court, the dunk contest maybe will be three or four minutes on the court, and three-point shooting is about two minutes,” said Lillard, whose Blazers (35-14) are the surprise team in the NBA this season. “And it’s not like the rookie-sophomore game is a real regular season game, so I mean I’m look at maybe an hour total of actual activity with all five things. People think there’s more energy being exerted than there actually is. It’s really not that much when you think about the time that you actually spend doing it.”
As for his chances of winning each contest, he’s already won the Skills Competition before, the Western Conference All-Stat team is loaded, he shoots 40.5% from the three-point line, his sophomore team will be facing a weak draft class in the Rising Stars game, and he boasts a 39.5-inch vertical leap for the Slam Dunk.
Of course, we don’t exactly expect him to come out a winner in all five of the All-Star contests. But Lillard definitely has the skills, and the teams, to come out on top in 2-4 of these competitions.