Damian Lillard says he felt he didn’t ‘belong’ with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard revealed that he didn’t feel that he belonged to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lillard opened up about this past offseason to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes revealing that he had a conversation with James about his next steps.

“’Bron asked what I was thinking with my situation, and I told him what I’m telling you: that I just want to be in a position to win it all,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “He painted the picture to me that if I were to leave, the situation could look like this. He didn’t tell me to come to L.A., and he didn’t say anything to me that I didn’t already know other than what it could look like. I told him, ‘I know if I were to play with y’all, I know it would work out because of my skill set,’ and who I am and who they are.”

However, Lillard came to the conclusion that he wanted to make his own decision on his future without any outside influences.

“I think the media is so strong now that a lot of top players have become influenced by the media,” Lillard said. “And for me, I think some media people have an issue with me or they view my stance as coming off a certain way. I don’t tune out what they say, but I just do what I want to do. And I think people look at it like, ‘Ah, he’s just taking the money. He doesn’t want to win.’ The media is so accustomed to rocking the boat and making people move how they want to move, and that’s not going to happen with me.

“I’m sure it would be great to play with LeBron and AD and play in a big market, but as attractive as it sounded and as fun as that might be, I don’t feel in my heart that that’s who I am or where I belong. And one thing I want to emphasize is that this decision wasn’t made out of comfort. I’m not afraid to be out of my comfort zone because I’m going to live here when I’m done playing regardless. I made my decision based on what I actually want to do.”

Ultimately, Lillard remained in Portland to start the 2021-22 season. The Blazers have begun this season with a 3-4 record, but it seems that the All-Star guard is in it for the long haul.

Lakers fans can fantasize about a lineup with James, Lillard and Davis, but it seems less likely than ever that it will become a reality.

Instead, the Lakers are focused on their Big 3 of James, Davis and Russell Westbrook as they pursue an NBA title in the 2021-22 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.