Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said he felt "disrespected" that he wasn't selected for the 2015 NBA All Star Game in a social media post on Friday, and deservedly so. Now that DeMarcus Cousins was added to the team to replace the injured Kobe Bryant, the third-year guard stands out as the biggest snub from the team in either conference, and expressed his frustrations at being left off with on a now deleted Instagram post.
The image had text that said: "Be so good they can't ignore you," and he wrote this in the caption:
I just want to thank the coaches who feel I wasn't good enough, the fans that didn't think I was good enough , and Adam Silver also for not thinking I was good enough. This isn't unfamiliar territory for me , it's actually what my life has been inspired by. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed or that I don't feel disrespected but it's not too much to handle. Not the first or last guy to be snubbed. "You should have been there" isn't good enough for me. But anyway, The reason I'm in these shoes is because I've always use the hand I was dealt to my advantage... A wise man once told me... " it ain't always gone be peaches and cream but somebody has to pay for the reason it's not ... One way or another " ... #ImThankful #Real #NonAllStar #RipCity #YellowTape
Strange double negatives aside, Lillard makes it clear he deserved to be on the team and had proved it with his play this season. He elaborated on his thoughts to reporters on Friday, per CSN Northwest.
I'm definitely going to take it personally. I said I'd be pissed off about it and I am. I just felt disrespected because I play the game the right way, I play unselfishly, I play for my team to win games and I produce at a high level. I think what I bring to the game as a person, my make up mentally, how I am towards my teammates, how I am towards the media, how I am towards the fans, what an All Star represents in this league, what you would want people looking at in an All Star, I think I make up all those things.
For me to be having the type of season i'm having, better than any I've had before, and for my team to be third in the Western Conference, I just see it as disrespectful. I'm not one of those guys who's going to say, 'I should be over this guy or that guy.' I'm not a hater. I have respect for each guy who made the roster, and they deserve to, but at the same time, I feel really disrespected, man. That's honestly how I feel.
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Lillard is posting better numbers this year than he did in 2014, when he was an All-Star. In 46 games this year, he's averaging 21.8 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 43.4 percent from the field. At 32-14, the Blazers have the fourth-best record in the league and are the third seed in the Western Conference. His quote above is powerful and totally true -- by all accounts, Lillard is a great guy and someone the NBA should be proud of representing their sport for the next decade.
Still, as evidenced by his response, Lillard is taking it in stride. He's not even that upset.
"Honestly, I thought I would be more mad about it," he told CSN Northwest. "I'm really not mad about it like I thought I'd be, but I do feel disrespected."
You can watch his full interview here.
It's still possible Lillard will be heading to New York if one of the current players decides to sit out. In fact, one possible scenario would be teammate LaMarcus Aldridge opting out of his fourth All-Star appearance, partly to rest an injured thumb that he's delaying surgery on and partly to give his teammate the spot he deserves.
But even if he gets in, that doesn't change Lillard's omission in the first place. Like he said on Instagram, "It ain't always gone be peaches and cream but somebody has to pay for the reason it's not."