Damian Lillard is one of the best players in the NBA right now, although he's on a team that doesn't help him compete in the Western Conference. The talented point guard is a sought-after player given the Portland Trail Blazers' inability to win. Still, Dame has repeatedly stated he's loyal to the team.
Even though many reports suggest the rest of the league is keeping an eye on Lillard, the player is happy where he is. He's made it clear he wants to win in Portland, but that seems very hard right now. Dame needs help, and so far, the Blazers have failed to assemble a competitive team.
Finishing his career without winning a ring is something probably for Dame, but the player isn't worried about it. Two years ago, the All-Star said he 'could live with zero rings,' which hasn't changed. During a recent AMA session on Reddit, Lillard talked about the 'ring or bust' culture, reminding people that many great players retired without winning a championship (2:30).
"We play in an era right now, where you get criticized for not winning a ring. As if it is not the hardest thing to do in sports. There are so many people who have played a full career without achieving that because it's so hard to do and so many things have to be aligned. That's why people love and cherish that moment so much and that's why we do all the things we do to have an opportunity at it because it's such a hard thing to accomplish. I don't believe in the ring or bust thing, I'm not a fan of that and that's why I don't play my career to that narrative."
Dame explains that's the reason why he makes or doesn't make certain shows, referring to his loyalty to the Blazers. He knows where his heart is and knows that it'll be a lot more special if he wins the ring at Moda Center. They reached the Western Conference Finals in 2019, but the Golden State Warriors swept them. Ever since that, Dame has been unable to have a deep run with his team.
Players like Charles Barkley, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone and many more retired without getting a ring, and Dame knows that alone doesn't define greatness.
Some people are worried about him wasting his prime on a team with no future. Yet, Lillard is a competitor and will do everything he can to take his team to the next level.