NBA players generally start very young and immaturity among the youngsters is gradually becoming a topic of discussion. Recently Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard addressed the issue as he shared his simple take on the matter.
He recently appeared on the “The Last Stand” podcast with Brian Custer. There he was asked what change would he make to the league if he was the commissioner. Lillard said that he would make it mandatory for the teams to have two veteran players on their rosters to guide the youngsters and show them the right path.
“If I was the commissioner, it would be mandatory to have two vets on the team,” Lillard said.
He shared the example of Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem, who is a real veteran of the game and has seen the league grow with time and has been around despite the ups and downs.
“I’m talking about real vets like how Miami has Udonis Haslem. He can play if they need him to play, but like a real leader, somebody that’s been around. Somebody that guys have to respect,” Lillard added.
He feels that when players will start to respect a couple of veterans they will also get their guidance and knowledge. He highlighted how the league is challenging for young players with the glitz and glamour things can often go downhill for any teenager.
“Almost like a father figure on the team because guys are coming into the league so young, and they have all this money,” Lillard said.
He shared how it is a dream come true to play in the NBA but the players are also exposed to a lot of factors which can also ruin their careers in a very short time. Lillard explains that it is not possible for their parents to do the hand-holding, so veteran players can just take them under his wing and guide them to the right path.
“It’s almost like they get everything and it’s a dream come true, but they’re exposed to a lot of things that can put you in a world of trouble. And your parents aren’t always gonna be able to be there to hold your hand,” he continued.
“You’re gonna be trying to distance yourselves from your parents because you want to live. So, it’s important to have people that are on that journey with these young dudes to kind of steer them in the right direction and show them the way properly,” he concluded.
Damian Lillard has been with the Trail Blazers as he believes in building a team from scratch and taking it to the finals. However, that has not been the case with the Trail Blazers. Hence, there are rumours of Lillard finally leaving the franchise. But he has some conditions like he does not want to be a part of any young rebuilding team, rather, he will stay at Portland if they promise him a very competitive lineup.
Among the options between Celtics, Heat, Knicks and Nets, Lillard instantly selected the Heat, mainly because of Bam Adebayo. He also selected the Nets later because he is close with Mikal Bridges too. It will be interesting to see where he ultimately ends up.