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?

EKN7 Blog 3

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?

EKN7 Blog 1

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?

EKN7 Blog 2

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.



  • 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!

Puma Blog Featured Image

Dream Big: J. Cole and Puma Launch Signature Sneaker Together

Welcome to Dreamville. Make your hoop dreams come true in the Puma RS-Dreamer from J. Cole.

Punch Drag Basketball Drill

Put In Work: Mastering the Punch Drag

Nothing is more valuable in basketball than a little space. Our guys from 90/10 are here to show you one of the most effective ways to create seperation.

Freak 2 Featured

The Freak is Back: Giannis Will Debut Nike Freak 2 in Playoffs

The Nike Freak 2 is launching just in time to help Giannis lead Milwaukee in the playoffs. Learn how the team at Nike was able to top last years successful Freak 1 launch.

The NXT Step: Nike’s BB NXT Brings Basketball to the Future.

The Nike BB NXT is the latest technological breakthrough in basketball shoes. Learn how the team at Nike built this shoe from the ground up.

NBA Playoff Blog Featured Image

The Return of Basketball

An explainer of how, where, and when professional basketball will be returning. We dive into what the rest of the regular season will look like, which teams will be playing, and how the playoffs are going to work.

Pick Up Slang Featured Image

A Beginner’s Guide to Basketball Slang

Ever realized that no matter where you play pick up basketball you'll end up hearing the same things over and over? Basketball slang is like a second language and I've put together a guide of key phrases you'll need to know if you want to thrive on the courts.

The Last Dance: A Look At Each Shoe Jordan Won a Title In

The Last Dance has captivated millions with glimpses of Chicago's dominance in the '90s. Eastbay dove a little deeper into each shoe MJ wore during each title.

Meet the 90th AAU James E. Sullivan Award Cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee

For the third time in AAU’s history, the James E. Sullivan Award was presented to two cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee.

NBA 2K20 Featured Image

The Most Underrated 2K20 Players

There's no better feeling than giving someone buckets in 2K with a player they don't expect. Check out Eastbay's guide to some of the most underrated 2K players.

Best Basketball Shoes Mobile Spotlight

Best Basketball Shoes

Your guide to the top basketball shoes available, so you can take the court this season prepared to show out.

Kevin Durant Mobile Spotlight

The Return: Introducing the KD13

The KD series returns this April with the 13th signature shoe. With upgraded cushioning and revamped traction it's making a push to be the best one yet.

Gear Up Featured Image 2

Top Nike Basketball Apparel

As spring and summer approach, Eastbay has put together a list of Nike apparel that's perfect to hit the court in while maintaining your style off it.

See More