Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was subject of a social media firestorm ahead of Portland’s first round series versus the top-seeded Golden State Warriors following his lighthearted ‘Blazers in six.’ answer to Comcast Sports Northwest anchor Dan Sheldon’s ‘Blazers in six or seven?’ question on Wednesday’s edition of Rip City Live. Lillard’s assertion spread quickly across the Twittersphere and among Instagram memes, drawing plenty of reaction from across the country ranging from simply ‘hahahahaha’ to ‘Stay off the drugs, son.’
Though Lillard points out that his comment was blown way out of proportion — he laughed while answering — the Portland point guard and Oakland native has never been one to back down from a challenge.
“People always find a way to make a story out of things like that,” Lillard said at Friday’s practice. “When [Sheldon] asked me, he said ‘Blazers in six or seven?’ I had two options, so I said ‘Blazers in six.’ It was kinda taken a little bit more serious than it was. Obviously, I do feel like we can win the series.
“I wasn’t going out there making a guarantee or some kind of prediction,” Lillard continued. “Most importantly, we’re coming out to win the series. If people are offended by that or not, that’s not our problem. We worked hard to get here, and we’re not gonna come in and just say ‘Oh, we’re playing the best team, that’s not possible.’ We’re gonna go out there and try to play. We feel we can beat them. If we don’t, we shouldn’t even go out there and lace up our shoes.”
Lillard’s backcourt mate CJ McCollum, a journalism major at Lehigh University, offered his own take on the situation.
“Is he supposed to say ‘We’re gonna lose’?” McCollum pondered aloud to the media Friday. “I think it was a loaded question; they set him up.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.”
Ever the players’ coach, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, of course, had his point guard’s back when asked about the media frenzy: “I’m sticking with my man Dame.”
The Blazers begin their series with the Warriors in Oakland on Sunday afternoon at 12:30pm Pacific on ABC.