PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Damian Lillard is no longer a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but he is leaving quite the legacy in Rip City.
As arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time, Lillard gave Portland fans a litany of positive memories in his 11 seasons in the Rose City.
Lillard was drafted by the Blazers in 2012 with the sixth overall pick, and fans knew right out of the gate that he was going to be special. In his Blazers debut, Lillard dropped 23 points and 11 assists in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Hollwenn night in 2012. At the time, it was just the third time in NBA history that a player had more than 20 points and 10 assists in their first game.
Lillard would go on to be named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013, averaging 19 points and 6.5 assists per game.
It wouldn’t take long for Lillard to go down in NBA lore as a clutch playoff performer. His game-winning 3-pointer as time expired against the Houston Rockets on May 2, 2014, gave the Blazers their first playoff series victory in more than a decade.
Despite the roster turnover at the end of the 2015 season, Lillard continued to carry the franchise, helping the Blazers reach the postseason in eight consecutive seasons. Arguably his most legendary postseason performance came in a series-clinching victory against Oklahoma City in 2019. Lillard scored 50 points on 17-of-33 shooting, including a miraculous 37-foot game-winner as time expired that is considered one of the greatest shots in playoff history.
In the next round, Lillard led the Blazers to a series victory over the Denver Nuggets in seven games, clinching a spot in the Western Conference Finals for the first time.
Despite a disappointing 2022-23 season for the Blazers, Lillard had a monster year, averaging a career-high 32.2 points per game. One of his last games in Blazer uniform was a memorable one as Lillard scored a franchise record 71 points against the Rockets on Feb. 26.
Lillard leaves the Blazers as the organization’s all-time leader in points and 3-point field goals. He was selected to seven All-Star Games and was named to the All-NBA team seven times. He was also named one of the top 75 players in NBA history.