End Of An Era
When you mention “The Shot” in Portland, Portlanders know exactly where they were when it happened. I was in the living room of our old house exchanging high-fives with my wife. We were home bound with our first new born child looking at one another in disbelief. Through the trees in our backyard I could see the warm, red glow of the Rose Garden. It looked happy just like every one of us who witnessed that moment.
Around here the name Lillard means something. It represents more than a game winning bucket, Dame Time, or being the Blazer GOAT. He has has founded The Lillard Foundation, the youth empowerment Respect Program and Team Lillard Basketball and his service to our community extends beyond his direct efforts. His brother Houston is the high school football coach here at Jefferson high school and helps local talent land D1 scholarships. Dame's childhood friend, Dondrale transformed a down-and-out high school basketball program into a winner. His greatest legacy will be the impact he, his family and inner-circle continue to make in our community.
By now you may have heard that he’s been traded to the Milwaukie Bucks. It comes at a time when we need something positive and it stings. When Dame’s on the team there’s always hope. During his 11-year run as a Trail Blazer we didn’t get a championship, but what we did get is to watch an ultimate competitor who we related to through his hard working, underdog spirit.
Unfortunately his tenure with the Trail Blazers doesn’t end with a parade down Broadway Street as our star has left the building.
The shirt he’s wearing in the thumbnail image of this post and below is one I made in 2016. They were taken during CJ McCollum’s 4-year contract extension. It was a big deal and received national news coverage. The shirt, called the People’s Choice, made headlines too. It became a viral hit and a great moment for me personally. People wore them all over town, at home and away games. 8-years later people occasionally come into our store and ask for it.
While it’s difficult to see him switch teams it also makes sense. He wants a championship and that won’t be happening here next year. While the show has come to an end that’s not to say we won’t see him in a Blazer uniform down the line. The positive news is that he’s chosen Portland as his permanent home, so we’re not loosing the man, just the player. That’s the biggest win we could have asked for.