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The Big Dance: Damian Lillard Soldiers On

Publish Date: 24/07/2015
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has had quite a busy offseason. It began on a high note, inking a five-year, $120 million contract extension with the only NBA team he's known thus far. It was supposed to be a culmination for the franchise's youngest star, locking up a key piece to continue Portland's build toward championship contention.

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Then things started to take a turn. First, Robin Lopez left the Pacific Northwest for the bright lights of the Big Apple, while Wesley Matthews took his game to Dallas. But that was only the beginning. Lopez is a nice piece but not a franchise changer, and Matthews was coming off a major injury as it is.

No, the real blow came when Lillard's running mate and under-the-radar MVP candidate LaMarcus Aldridge, whom the Blazers thought they had an excellent chance to sign, spurned the only NBA he had previously called home to head back to his home state of Texas to join the seemingly always stocked San Antonio Spurs.

Damian Lillard Dame Dolla

To make matters worse, rumors swirled that Aldridge and Lillard did not have the best of relationships. Word on the street was Aldridge was even a little jealous of all the attention his younger teammate garnered from the organization and advertisers.

For his part, Aldridge said all that is nonsense, and there's no real reason to believe otherwise. After all, he's been an understated guy his whole career, never chasing the spotlight or headlines. And let's face it, if winning as soon as possible is priority No. 1 for LaMarcus, there was no better place for him to go than San Antonio.

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That doesn't make it any easier to take for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, mind you, and I'm sure they both would prefer to take their minds off Aldridge and move forward.

Perhaps that's why it was the perfect timing for Lillard to resurrect his rap alter ego Dame Dolla and unleash his newest track, "Soldier in the Game" — you know, to soldier on.

I have to admit, Damian Lillard should not quit his day job by any means, but he's not terrible on the mic.

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