By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)
Before we go into sniping me and leaving me to die on the curb with my thoughts and opinions, let me tell you why I believe this to be somewhat true. I’ll give you clarity first. I don’t mean he’s the new Iverson by hairstyle, dress style, in speech, in the way he approaches the media, teammates or his coaches. No. What I mean is that he is driven to lead his team to the promised land one way or another and he is determined to fight through all the doubts thrown his way.
I’ve been watching his story develop over the last couple years from a distance. It’s come full circle now with him carrying his team. He’s lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, and Aaron Afflalo and Robin Lopez and somehow he has still kept the Trailblazers in the playoff picture and his team inspired enough to compete against the best teams in the game. He’s wrongfully compared to Stephen Curry, he’s wrongfully snubbed when it comes to the All-Star games and to Team USA Basketball. He’s basically seen as 3rd tier. Let’s be honest. I think he’s had a better year than James Harden. I think he’s had an MVP-type season for the hand he’s been dealt and the success he’s mined along the way.
Damian Lillard is like Iverson cause where people say that he won’t succeed, he does. Where people think he’ll come up short, he’ll exceed expectations. I guess they both rap, right? LOL! But Damian Lillard has an opportunity to begin crafting a legacy. If he can push this team deep into the 2nd round, he should be applauded. If he can’t get them out of the first round, he should be regarded as a good NBA player with a “don’t quit” mentality. A player with heart. The first player I’ve seen since Iverson to actually go against the grain. He puts in the work to improve and to ultimately prove people wrong. Fighting through adversity instead of letting it swallow him and make him a shell of who he is potentially supposed to be. They said he couldn’t play defense, he’s improved. They said he couldn’t facilitate, he’s improved. They said he wouldn’t be able to keep his team above .500, he’s done that. They said he couldn’t closeout, he does. They said he couldn’t explode, he has! I believe in him too much to throw the “he won’t win a championship” stone. I believe he will. I’m a fan that respects his struggle and rise because I can relate to having to overcome something and being surrounded by people who believe that you can’t rise to the occasion.
He’s not even comparable to Iverson, so let’s bury that though altogether. I think he will be better than Iverson. I think his career will flourish and he will reap more success than Iverson. As long as he stays focused on improving his game and making sure that he doesn’t fall into the pit that is the media, and scrutiny, Lillard will continue to shock the world.