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Portland Waves Goodbye to Dame Time

Sean Meagher for the Oregonian
Damion Lillard waves goodbye to the Oklahoma City Thunder after hitting the game winning three pointer in game five of the first round of playoffs on April 23, 2019 at the Moda Center.

Portland Trail Blazers traded Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal conducted on September 27, 2023, between the Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns. This news comes months after Lillard formally requested to be traded from the Blazers franchise in early July 2023.

Portland drafted Lillard out of Weber State University with the sixth pick of the 2012 draft (CNN). Lillard went on to win the Rookie of the Year award in the 2012-2013 season and has been a Blazer fan favorite ever since. 

Lillard quickly proved to be a valuable, and loyal, draft choice. He led the Portland Trail Blazers to the playoffs in eight of his 11 seasons with the organization (ESPN). Lillard also played a key role in the Portland Trail Blazers’ Western Conference finals appearance in 2019, where they eventually lost to the Golden State Warriors.

Along with the team’s successes, Lillard’s individual talents were heavily showcased over the past 11 seasons in Rip City. All-Star and All-NBA teams were not uncommon for Lillard to find himself on, as he made seven over the years (ESPN). On February 26, 2023, against the Houston Rockets, he played a career-high game when he scored 71 points, ranking seventh in history among the most points scored by an individual player in a single NBA game (NBC Sports). 

Widely known for his deep three-pointers and the crucial and exhilarating minutes of “Dame Time,” many Blazer fans are sad to see him go. At 33 years old, some Blazer fans expected Lillard to finish his career in Portland, taking them by surprise when he submitted his formal trade request from the organization. On the other hand, others saw this as a reasonable request after the team failed to make playoffs for the second consecutive season, the first time for this to happen in Lillard’s career (ESPN). 

After the news was released on Wednesday, September 27, Lillard took to X, formally Twitter, to write he was “excited” about the trade, elaborating further when he released a single titled “Farewell” under his stage name Dame D.O.L.L.A (CNN). The song centers around saying goodbye to the city of Portland, the life he lived there, and of course the fans. “To the fans, man, I love you, it’s unconditional,” the song expresses. Then he reminds fans once again it is a career choice, and his move is not made out of harsh feelings for them but in hopes of winning an NBA championship.

Blazer general manager Joe Cornin wishes all the best for Lillard. Ever grateful for what he has done for the Portland team and community, Cornin states, “From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city,” (CNN).

Although not the focal point of Blazer fan attention, Portland will lose Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson to Phoenix as part of the deal (ESPN). In return, they will receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, and Toumani Camara, unprotected Milauwakee swap rights in 2028 and 2030, and Milaukee’s unprotected first-round draft pick in 2029. Cornin also regards these losses, closing his statement with, “We wish Dame, Nurk, Keon, and Nas much success going forward,” (CNN).

Lillard will play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and other Milwaukee Bucks while continuing to wear “the letter 0” in the upcoming 2023-2024 season. The Portland Trail Blazer organization will now rebuild with a younger team revolving around guards Shaedon Sharpe and rookie Scoot Henderson.

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Britney Henderson
Britney Henderson, Editor in Chief

Hi I’m Britney! I am a Senior and this is my second year on the Bruin Banner. I enjoy reading and writing. Outside of school I love playing softball and paddle boarding!

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