With an 11-year NBA career – all with the Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard, 32, has established himself as one of the most lethal point guards in the league. A seven-time NBA All-Star who was named to the league’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, his clutch play has turned his presence into a perpetual “Dame Time” status.
Lillard’s cultural impact goes far beyond his electrifying presence on the court. The king of “4BarFriday”, he has also established himself as a tenacious force in the rap game under the moniker Dame DOLLA (different levels the Lord allows). With four studio albums under his belt, joining the likes of Lil Wayne, Jeremih and Snoop Dogg along the way, Dame remains poised, ready to pounce at any moment.
Outside the studio, he continued to make waves with tunnel tweaks and court looks ranging from shirtless suits to rock the latest
Heading into the NBA All-Star weekend, Hypebeast linked up with a loaded Lillard – who juggled the 3-point shooting, All-Star game and worked with his many partners throughout the action-packed weekend. For him, it was “same business as usual,” however: his 3-point shootout victory and clinching shot in the All-Star Game was just another day on the job.
Hypebeast: Since you signed with adidas in 2012, the brand has evolved significantly. What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed?
Damian Lillard: In the beginning, everything was based on the history of the brand. Trying to stay true to what they’ve always done: lots of shelltoes, Top Tens, Crazy 8s and the tracksuits, stuff like that. I think the changes I’ve seen involve leapfrogging – being more into the future with this, doing louder things, more unusual things than in the past.
What is your favorite shoe that you released with adidas?
Probably Queen 6.
Why is that one special for you?
I just think it was the most “different” in terms of color blocking and visuals. It also performed well – light and comfortable. I was able to play with it right out of the box, but there were also enough colors that I could wear a lot of different shoes.
How many of your shoes do you own today?
All of them. I have a bunch of them in my garage. Team colors, random colors, everything.
We want to hear about an All-Star Weekend classic: how did you end up collaborating with BAPE on Dame 4?
I’ve been a huge BAPE fan since high school. Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana had just left with the I can’t feel my face mixtape, and wore hoodies, jeans, and BAPE shoes. That’s always stuck with me, and when we collaborate, we’re always looking for a brand that’s connected to the culture and goes above and beyond.
What can we expect from your next shoe?
You can expect it to be different. I think what’s most important to me is that I want my shoe to be versatile – one that works well but can be worn off the ground, due to the color blocking and detailing of the shoe. Obviously, I always want to be able to tell stories throughout each colorway, so that’s something that’s always going to be there. And that’s right, just keep getting better and better as we go along.
The “Remember The Why” campaign seems to present a new direction for adidas Basketball. How do you feel about it?
It’s something I really appreciate because it has so much depth. It meets people connected to the brand where they are: basketball fans are no longer just “ah, this guy is scoring 30 points per game”, they want to see who the players are and what they do too. The new direction the brand is taking with its basketball product really highlights both sides of that equation.
What’s your favorite off-court shoe right now?
My favorite off-court shoe right now is the BAPE x adidas Superstar 80s, I own like four pairs.
“I think NBA players are more stylish (than rappers).”
Who is more stylish? NBA players or rappers?
I think NBA players are more stylish.
Any reason for that?
Most of the rappers I see are in designer labels with a lot of color coordination. I think with athletes, since they deal directly with designers and stylists and things like that, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot more depth to athletes’ style now than there is to rappers.
What’s in your music rotation right now?
Right now, I’m listening to myself. I have a new project that I’m about to release when the season ends, so I’m listening a lot to make sure it’s on point.
With that in mind, what can we expect from Dame DOLLA this year?
What did Deion Sanders say? “I am arriving.”
Besides winning a championship, what is your goal before retiring?