Blazers Guard Damian Lillard Discusses New Rap Tracks, Racial Injustice, Police Brutality
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Weber State and current Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard discussed his newest rap tracks, racial injustice, and police brutality in a recent interview with GQ Magazine.
The NBA All-Star has been vocal since the death of George Floyd that sparked worldwide protests. On May 25, Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
In early June, Lillard participated in a peaceful protest march in Portland, Oregon.
Following his march alongside thousands of fellow protesters, Lillard discussed the prominent issues with GQ’s Michael Pina.
Warning: “Blacklist” and “GOAT Spirit” both contain explicit lyrics and parental discretion is advised.
In “Blacklist,” Lillard highlights “systemic racism he and other Black Americans have endured since the day they were born.’
In “GOAT Spirit,” Lillard rapped about “what it means to be the greatest at whatever it is you do.”
“All of my favorites are the ones who stood for something. Muhammad Ali. My favorite rapper is 2Pac,” Lillard said when asked about his motivation behind “GOAT Spirit.” “They stood for something. And they are guys widely considered as GOATs in what they do. I love Michael Jordan because of the charisma and him being able to sell his shoe and be popular and his work ethic and his killer mentality and all those things.”
Racial Injustice & Police Brutality
Pina asked Lillard, “Have you experienced police brutality or racial profiling by the police yourself?”
The Blazers guard responded with a story that occurred prior to his senior year at Weber State Univesity. Lillard had been in his hometown of Oakland, California, and had recently purchased his first car before driving back to Ogden for school.
Lillard said that as he was driving with his cousin through the middle of the desert, they were pulled over by highway patrol officers, only a couple hours from Utah.
“They ask for my license and everything. I tell them I just bought this car yesterday at home. It’s a new car. I’m registering the car in Utah. I start school tomorrow. I got insurance. I tell him everything but I’m giving him an update on where I am with it. And they’re like, “So what are you doing in Nevada. We get a lot of drugs coming through here. Do you have any drugs in the car?” Lillard said. “I was like, “Man, I’m a college athlete.” I pulled myself up on the phone and showed them. I’m a college athlete. I go to Weber State. This is gonna be my last year. I got a chance to be a draft pick, I’ve never been in trouble. I’ve never been arrested. I tell them everything. And they say, “Let us search the car. We get a lot of drugs coming through here.” And I told them no. And they said, “You either let us search the car, or we’re gonna get permission from the judge.” And I said, “I’m not letting you touch my car.”
The NBA All-Star said they made him and his cousin get out of the vehicle and walk 30 yards up the road.
“I started thinking they were gonna plant something in my car, but they didn’t. They just tore my car apart. They took the inside of the doors off. They went in my trunk and took out all my suitcases and luggage and had all my clothes flying out all over the road. They broke my window. They just tore my car apart and then three hours later after being on the side of the road in the desert,” Lillard said. “It was three squad cars out there, six cops, and they just harassed us, basically. And I didn’t even get a ticket! And I put this on my son’s life, this a true story, man.”
Lillard said that he doesn’t look at himself as a social activist but as somebody willing to “be a part of the fight.”
“Just as fast as I became an NBA star, I could’ve been living in Oakland and on the ground in front of somebody’s house,” Lillard told Pina. “For me, it’s about being present in the fight with your people. Even though I’m a part of billion-dollar companies and make millions of dollars, I’m one of these people that’s out here. [They’re] who I’m gonna stand with, 100 times out of 100.”
About Damian Lillard
The former Weber State guard has played his entire NBA career with Portland.
After starring for the Wildcats in Ogden from 2009-12, Lillard was selected by the Blazers with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award after his debut season.
Since he joined the NBA, the guard has been named an All-Star five times. He was a member of the All-NBA First Team in 2018.
You can click here to read Damian Lillard’s full interview with GQ Magazine.