Big stars in small market cities have to deal with a very unique problem: the constant push by others for them to move to a bigger market. Whether it's from fans, the media, or even fellow players, stars who aren't playing in Texas, New York, or L.A., are stuck listening to people who wish they did.
For Portland guard Damian Lillard, he experienced it first-hand when Stephen A. Smith, in a segment on his show, made the case for him to be moved to New York.
"I wish he was in another market. We're being robbed of seeing Damian Lillard's brilliance every single night. He'd be a starter in the All-Star game if he played in a big market. Be honest, y'all know that's true. Dame needs to be in a big market... like my Knicks. How about that as an example?"
Well, unlike a lot of stars, Dame DOLLA has never been one to shy away from the noise. In retort to Stephen A.'s segment, he argued against move from the Blazers.
“I think, for every person that says you know I want to see him on the big stage, and I want to see him go to a bigger market and all these things, of course those things have pros, but nobody ever wants to think about the cons,” Damian Lillard explained, via Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports. “If you take that step and it’s not what it seems to be, and it doesn’t work out, or an injury happens, and you haven’t established as much of a rapport with that team, and they chose one guy over the next guy and now you’re traded to a third team, things can fall apart. That may never happen, but it’s just a lot of things you can’t control. You got to consider both sides. But for me, it would have to come down to my team saying look, we’re going in a different direction, and we don’t want to hold you hostage, basically, and what route do you want to go.”
Honestly, Dame's words make a lot of sense. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. And if Dame does happen to win with the Blazers, it'd be a good way to shut all the naysayers up...
“For every person that has that to say, I’m saying if everybody doesn’t think I can do it in Portland and we can’t win in Portland, what does it mean and what happens when we do? If we actually go and do it, then where does that put me? Where does that put my legacy? Where does that put my career?” Damian Lillard said.
“My whole career, everybody’s been saying, ‘he should go to this team’ or ‘he should go to a bigger market,’ and all these things, so at the end of the day, if we just go and win it, then what? Where does that put me? And that’s how I see it.”
It would, no doubt, be fun to watch Mr. Lillard do his thing in New York or Dallas, or anywhere else that's considered "big market." But it's about time we respect his desire to stay where he's at, and appreciate the display of loyalty that is becoming a rarity in today's league.