Baller. Rapper. Underdog.

B/R Mag Exclusive:
On the eve of the NBA season, Portland’s star guard drops an album — and a whole lotta knowledge on how he became ‘the best hooper to ever rap’

By Bonsu Thompson

October 20, 2016

One night, Damian Lillard found himself standing alone on the streets of Oakland, California. He was waiting for an AC Transit bus at the Eastmont Mall station when he spotted three guys approaching from a close distance.

Eastmont is not an ideal neighborhood to be idle or alone in post-nightfall, but it was the high school senior’s daily transfer home after basketball practice. Oakland High sat on Fourth Street, but Dame lived up on 106th. His varsity team always practiced last––after the freshman, junior varsity and girls squads––so every school night, around 9 p.m., he’d transfer from the 57 bus to the 40 at Eastmont. At night, there was always a rainbow of characters around the station. So Dame paid the approaching males no mind.

That is, until he was surrounded.

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