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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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End of an Era: La Salle Reacts to Damian Lillard’s Trade News

Charlotte Robinson
Although Lillard has left, Blazers fans will still wear their Lillard gear. “I will miss him dearly, [but] I will continue to wear my Damian Lillard gear with pride,” Mr. Larson said.

“Dame time” is over.

The news that Trail Blazers fans had been dreading since July — when Portland’s point guard Damian Lillard requested a trade — finally arrived on Wednesday, Sept. 27th when the notification came across fans’ phones.

Damian Lillard was being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Despite rumors circulating of Lillard’s potential trade to the Miami Heat in July, Lillard ended up going to the Bucks in a three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns, where the Blazers acquired multiple players including Jrue Holiday — who has since been traded to the Boston Celtics — Milwaukee’s 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030.

Along with varying reactions throughout the city when the news was first announced, junior Shane Ball was in utter shock. Although he is sad that Lillard will no longer don a Blazers jersey, he is also excited that Lillard will be able to achieve his goals.

“I feel like he gave us everything he could, he gave this franchise everything he could, so I am happy he can go and succeed elsewhere,” Ball said. “Especially with Giannis.” 

After playing for the Blazers for 11 years, English teacher Mr. Greg Larson — who has been a Blazers fan for as long as he can remember — is grateful that Dame stayed with the Blazers for as long as he did. “He could have left a lot earlier, and it feels like he gave the organization a way to hang on to him, and the organization decided that something else was more important,” Mr. Larson said.

Mr. Larson recognizes that the Blazers are currently at a place where they would rather build a team for the future, and not invest in Dame right now and build around him. “We’re going to try to be really good in 2032, and I’ll be happy if that happens, but I’ve been waiting since 1993, and Dame is that caliber of player,” Mr. Larson said.

Contrary to many others, Mr. Larson believes that Lillard has been open and honest throughout the entire trade process. And although he understands where the franchise is coming from, he recognizes that Lillard communicated to the Blazers that he wanted to win a championship and it is unfortunate that the organization did not take the steps to make it happen.

For senior Jack Gill and Mr. Larson, a moment that they will always remember is when Lillard had the game winner over Paul George against the Oklahoma Thunder in 2019. “My friend was at the arena and called me and I just heard cheering for like a minute,  so loud that it was static,” Mr. Larson said.

Mr. Larson does not only remember the basketball moments, but also the interviews that Dame had. “He was able to break down the game in such an accessible way, but you could also just sense his incredible knowledge,” he said.

Throughout Portland, Lillard will not only be missed as the city’s point guard but in other ways too. “I’m gonna miss what he brings to Portland,” Gill said. “And you know the community he created really.”

Lillard started the RESPECT program in his rookie season for the Blazers which primarily included Parkrose, Roosevelt, and McDaniel high schools. This program encourages students to show up, work hard, and be kind. 

“I have a friend that works at Parkrose High School and he helps out with the program there, and that program means a lot to many of those students,” Mr. Larson said. “I think he is articulate and thoughtful and I really like it when a leader of a sports franchise is also a philosopher.”

With Dame going to the Bucks, Ball is excited because he did not like the idea of Lillard playing for the Heat. Lillard having the opportunity to play with a big like Giannis Antetokounmpo rather than Jimmy Butler — who is known for making the tough shots in clutch moments just as Lillard is — will make this situation a better fit for Dame.

With Lillard leaving, Ball sees this as an opportunity for new and upcoming players such as Scoot Henderson — who now that Dame has left will be able to find himself with the ball more often — as well as Shaedon Sharpe and Anfereene Simons to find their role within the team, and find a place to shine. 

Gill is also excited that it was the Bucks because he sees this as Dame’s opportunity to go win a championship, and will definitely still support him while he is in Milwaukie. “I will probably be getting a Bucks Dame jersey, and watching them throughout the season and hopefully into the playoffs and championship,” he said.

Looking ahead to the future, Gill hopes that after Lillard wins a championship, he will come back to Portland. “I hope he does come back after winning some, maybe getting settled down with the team that is being built while he is away,” he said. 

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