Oakland native and Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard had a refreshingly honest answer when he was asked in 2017 about the pressures of playing in the NBA. The quote, via Sporting News, resurfaced in recent weeks.
“Pressure, nah. Fam, this is just playing ball,” Lillard said. “Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom, who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent.
“We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don’t get me wrong ― there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people.”
That quote made its way to Kevin Durant, who referenced it after his 29-point performance in Golden State’s 115-109 win over Houston in Game 2 Tuesday. Durant was asked whether he enjoys the playoffs and get can look beyond the pressure that comes with it.
“Once you realize its’s just basketball, the pressure a lot of these guys go through when they realize how they come up is, what their families have been through, this isn’t really pressure to them,” Durant said. “I seen a quote from Damian Lillard the other day, and I thought that was perfect what he said. If you haven’t seen it, go look at it. It was a long quote, you should go look at it.
“But he summed it up perfectly, what pressure means when you talk about NBA players, and I think a lot of guys feel that way. But it’s just fun, it’s fun being out there. What’s the worst that could happen to either team? Both lose, and we got another game. One team lose, and you play another game. I think once everybody looks at it in a more wide view of things, I think there’s not that much pressure.”