Damian Lillard drew inspiration from Dirk Nowitzki staying with Mavs his whole career
Damian Lillard has forged himself as a role model for his hometown of Oakland and in his second home with the Portland Trail Blazers, and while he’s been part of trade rumors in the past, he’s let none of them affect him with an end goal in mind. Most NBA players don’t get to spend their careers with one team, but Dirk Nowitzki is one of the dying breeds that Lillard hopes to be a part of.
“He just stayed with it,” said Lillard of Nowitzki, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “I respect what Dirk did. Like, I see that and I’m like, ‘It’ll be worth it. I know it was worth it for him,’ you know what I’m saying? Like, he’ll be forever, ever, ever respected in Dallas and in the league. So that’s like what I see from myself.”
Nowitzki rode the Dallas Mavericks train for 21 seasons since coming into the NBA in 1998 as a skilled, but unpolished 7-footer out of Germany. Lillard had a different route after playing three years at Weber State, a lesser-known school that had never produced an NBA player before — though he quickly made himself a fan favorite after winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2013.
Lillard has been unequivocally committed to staying in Rip City, one that has been ingrained in him as much as Oakland has throughout his childhood.
It’s tougher than ever to start and finish an NBA career with one team, but Lillard is hoping to emulate Nowitzki and be one of the select few to finish out that way, pledging his loyalty to only one franchise.