Wednesday night will be more than just another game for the City of Roses. The Portland Trail Blazers are set to host the Milwaukee Bucks in a highly anticipated matchup that marks the emotional homecoming of Damian Lillard. The 8-time NBA All-Star, who spent the first ten seasons of his illustrious career with the Trail Blazers, will step onto the court at the Moda Center wearing a different jersey for the first time since his unexpected trade to the Bucks in September 2023.
Lillard’s tenure in Portland was characterized by more than just his on-court heroics; it was a decade-long journey that saw him build a legacy deeply intertwined with the community, filled with clutch shots, and celebrated with his trademark swagger, famously known as “Dame Time.” While his time with the Trail Blazers organization has come to an end, the 33-year-old can never escape his profound connection with the city of Portland.
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In a touching gesture, Adidas officially named its Portland headquarters gymnasium court after Damian Lillard, further solidifying his enduring bond with the city. The court dedication ceremony, held earlier in the day, was attended by fans, teammates, and Adidas representatives. Lillard expressed his gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging not just on-court achievements but also the impact a player has off the court.
During the ceremony, Lillard, visibly moved, shared his thoughts on the court dedication. “I appreciate y’all for showing up. It’s a lot of great athletes that have had affiliations with the brand, with a lot of accomplishments. But I think what makes this, for me, the thing that I appreciate the most is who you are, the kind of impact that you have, and how you live your life outside of yourself,” said Lillard per Orlando Sanchez of KGW TV Portland.
Damian Lillard addresses Adidas family
The brand named its basketball court at headquarters after him pic.twitter.com/HvI1F9Xc9g
— Orlando Sanchez (@orlandokgw) January 30, 2024
He continued, expressing gratitude for being recognized not just for his career achievements but for his character and how he has handled himself as a person. The court dedication symbolizes a gesture of respect, love, and appreciation for Lillard’s contributions both on and off the court.
Adidas, in a press release, emphasized the inimitable impact Lillard has had on the brand, sneaker culture, and basketball since entering the league in 2012. The decision to name the gymnasium court after him ensures that Lillard will forever be ‘always home’ in the city where he planted his roots.
Before his rookie season, Lillard signed with Adidas, marking the beginning of a partnership that has seen the release of eight signature sneakers under the “Dame” line. From the D Lillard 1 to the current models, including the more affordable “Dame Certified” line, Lillard’s influence extends beyond the court and into the world of sneaker culture.
As the night unfolds, emotions will run high in the Moda Center. Lillard, now with the Bucks, will face his former team for the first time since the trade. The Bucks and Blazers previously clashed on Nov. 26, 2023, in Milwaukee, where Lillard scored 31 points, leading the Bucks to a thrilling comeback victory from a 26-point deficit.
Wednesday night’s game is more than a contest between the Bucks and the Blazers; it’s a celebration of Damian Lillard’s legacy in Portland. The court dedication serves as a reminder of the impact he has had on the city, the game of basketball, and the community. As fans witness Lillard’s return to the Moda Center, they are not just witnessing a game; they are part of a heartfelt homecoming, filled with respect, love, and appreciation for a player who has left an indelible mark on the City of Roses.