There has been a lot of talk about loyalty in the NBA in recent years, largely due to Kevin Durant's choice to join the Golden State Warriors in free agency back in 2016.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been asked multiple times why he continues to insist on staying with the team despite their lack of success in the playoffs, but he has remained adamant that he'd rather stay loyal to the team that drafted him than sell out for a title.
Damian Lillard says he isn't going anywhere. pic.twitter.com/0frbiqMJCr— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 20, 2019
"I do want to win a championship, but there's other stuff that means more to me," Lillard told Yahoo Sports. "It's almost like I'm not willing to sell myself out for that."
In an era where players and teams seem to be at odds with each other about concepts like commitment, trust, and respect, it's refreshing to see that Lillard has such a close bond with the Blazers.
Lillard is in the midst of another strong campaign in Portland, averaging 26.3 points per game on 45 percent shooting. The Blazers currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference with a record of 34-23.
Lillard understands that abandoning his team to chase a ring would take the meaning out of winning a title. He knows that if he wants to win it all, he needs to earn it.
Hopefully more players will come around to Lillard's style of thinking. If that happens, we might finally leave the era of super teams in the dust and return to competitive basketball.