Damian Lillard’s Advice For Young Athletes

Most kids can only dream of playing basketball with their favorite player. Our young athlete cover star, Luke Calvin, got to do just that when he hit the court with Damian Lillard in Oakland for our photoshoot. Luke also got to hang out with Damian for a while, asking for advice and soaking up everything he could from one of the game’s best point guards.

Luke: Why do you love basketball?

Damian: I love the game of basketball, because it gives me the opportunity to free myself from any problems, anything that’s going on in my life outside of the basketball court. When I get out there, the game is the only thing I’m thinking about. It’s something I love. It’s something I’m passionate about. There’s nothing better. I’ve felt that way since I was a kid. Why do you love the game?

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Luke: Because I get to express myself and I can be creative. And it’s really fun. How would you describe your game?

Damian: I think the best way to describe my game is fearless. Every game, I’m attacking whoever I’m playing against. I’m going after them. What are your basketball goals?

Luke: I want to be in the NBA and I want to be a 20-time MVP.

Damian: If you’re a 20-time MVP, you’re going to be the best that ever played. You’re trying to be the G.O.A.T. Dream big!

Luke: So what advice do you have for someone who wants to become a pro?

Damian: It’s really hard to make it the league, let alone be a 20-time MVP. So, I would say you’ve got to work extremely hard, and all of the intangibles are really important. Your character, your work ethic, how coachable you are, how much your teammates like you. Make those things your strong points. You have to be great at those things in order to be great on the basketball court.

Luke: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a leader?

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Damian: Put the team before yourself. A true leader has his teammates’ best interests in mind. You have to put that in front of what you want for yourself. When you do that, that’s how you get guys to follow you – play harder for you. The more you’re willing to put the team in front of yourself, the further you’ll go.

Luke: What’s your favorite basketball shoe?

Damian: My favorite basketball shoe is the Dame 4, because it’s mine. What about you?

Luke: These. (points to his Dame 4s)

Damian: The Dame 4s! That’s what I’m talking about. What players do you look up to the most?

Luke: You, Michael Jordan, and Kevin Durant.

Damian: That’s a good group. So you know I’m a rapper. What should my next song be about?

Luke: Me.

Damian: (laughs) Call it Luke Nasty.

Luke: What’s one challenge you have for me?

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Damian: I would challenge you to work hard every day. It’s easy for people to work hard on Monday and Tuesday, but it’s hard to do it every single day. That’s what separates average players and the best players. Work harder than everybody else and do the things that other people won’t do. Hold yourself more accountable. Do you have any challenges for me?

Luke: I challenge you to get 110 points in a game.

Damian: I almost had 60 last year. I’ll see what I can do, man.


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  • Joanette Calvin:

    Very good interview Damian did a great job with this young boy very inspiring giving some valuable lesson on the game of basketball and leadership. In times in which we live today in this crazy world we need more Damian Lillards to take the so kids can see the person and not just a super star. Thank you Damian for be real. I also enjoyed Luke who was giving this opportunity and handled himself very well with questions challenges and listening and not to mention how handsome Luke is making the photo shoot great . I thouhgt everything was awesome oh did I mention Luke Calvin is my grandson we are very proud of him. Thank you

  • cynthia dang:

    Great advice to all young people, no matter what you want to be. Sometimes hearing these words from someone other than family may make an impact on the young people.

  • Sevgi n Muad:

    So proud! I have no doubt he will be in the NBA killin it! Keep working hard Luke! We love ya!

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