Damian Lillard on how he musters fearlessness in games
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard recently sat down to talk about how is so effective in clutch moments. Lillard has already established himself as one of the best players in the NBA at performing under pressure. His late-game efforts have flown under the radar in his six-year career, regardless of his success.
Lillard has scored 127 points in 151 clutch minutes, ranking him 10th in the NBA. He was named “Mr. Clutch” by the NBA Player association for the 2017-18 season. His peers have clearly taken note of his unwavering mental toughness. But where does this fearlessness come from? Lillard himself can’t seem to pinpoint what gives him this special ability.
“I can’t think of one time, but I’ve had a lot of moments where something just didn’t go my way at the time that I needed it to in a game. It just made me not fear what the outcome would be,” said Lillard in an interview with CGTN.com.
He hasn’t always had his impressive composure in the closing minutes of games. Lillard learned from critical mistakes he made as a child over the years.
“I remember in the eighth grade I had a game winning shot. I think we were down by two. I hit a three-pointer with one second left and I took my jersey off and started celebrating. It was one second left and I got tech and the other team got two free throws. We ended up losing the game by one and that was the worst thing that could ever happen,” said Lillard.
He has perfected his mentality over time. This year, he will have use it to produce in a more talented Western Conference than the one he led to a third place finish last year.