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Damian Lillard Sounded Off On The "Rings Or Nothing" Discourse Of The NBA

Kevork Djansezian. Getty Images.

As I've said before, one thing I actually like about media in 2023 is now with current and former players getting into the podcast game, it gives is normal people a great insight into the minds of some of the best players in the world at their respective sport. Someone who nails this is JJ Redick and his podcast, which for me is a must listen basically every week. The only one I've skipped is this one

and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Still haven't listened to that or watched highlights from that Game 4 and I plan on keeping it that way for the rest of my days. 

When we learned the other day that Dame would be JJ's next guest, I was excited. The way JJ can talk about the game with these guys and get them to open up is what makes his podcast unique, and based on the one clip we have it sounds like this is going to be another great interview.

I know this is 5 minutes long, but watch the whole thing

Talk about having the right perspective, my word. The discourse in the league whether it's about RNNNGZZZ or MVP has gotten to the point where it's mostly all toxic. Hearing a superstar like Dame talk like this and explain his mindset about his career and the league was really refreshing, and it helps you understand a little more why he doesn't really give a shit what people say he should or shouldn't do. That's a guy who is comfortable in his life, his job, and I guess it doesn't hurt that the Blazers willingly give him $200M extensions every time they have an opportunity to. I imagine I'd be pretty comfortable with my life too.

You're never going to be able to please everybody. As they talked about, if you bail and join a superteam and win, nobody will give you credit. If you go and don't win a ring, then what good was it? This isn't just a Dame thing, this is an every star in the NBA thing. Think about how we talk about Harden, Embiid, Jokic, CP3 etc. Think of how guys like Dirk or Giannis were talked about before they finally got over the hump. It's all pretty toxic.

That doesn't mean you have to suck their dicks at all times, but it is true that the discourse fans have around the NBA has been broken for a long time. Call it casual fans, call it NBA Twitter, the point is it's all pretty terrible. 

Of course Dame wants to win a ring, he's been pretty vocal about that. He's also been pretty vocal where he wants to win it. Even if it never happens he's a shoe in for the HOF anyway. The guy made the Top 75 team for crying out loud, something tells me he's going to be just fine.

I can only imagine what it's like to be one of these superstar players. There's no chance my mental toughness is anywhere close to being strong enough to handle it. We all care on some level what people say/think about us, especially when your job is on the internet where 99% of people tell you that you stink. That can mess with you. Now imagine that x10000000000 and that's the life of someone like Damian Lillard. 

How he's able to handle all that both publicly and mentally while then still having one of the best years of his career is pretty damn impressive.