There have been numerous professional basketball players who have tried to enter hip-hop greatness over the years. But none outside of Shaq have yet to find the commercial success they were probably hoping for. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers believes he's primed to change all of that whenever he lays down his first music album.
"If my profile continues to increase, I think I can go platinum with my music,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “Not to knock anybody else who has done it, but I can actually rap. I have a story to tell. It’s not going to just be about basketball. I have more content than that. With the way I know I can get down, and the producers that I’ll align myself with, there’s no reason not to think I couldn’t go platinum. Shaq proved it’s possible.”
Shaq was definitely a unique a case though. His popularity as a player was almost second to none at one point in his career. So it's safe to assume the success of "Shaq Diesel" in 1994 has to be partly due to his popularity and not just his musical ability.
With that said, Lillard seems to be taking this potential rap career very seriously. He regularly puts his skills on display in a concept called 4-Bar Friday where participants compete in freestyle battles on Instagram.
“I’ve been rapping for a long time and now I’m in a position to where I can help others get through their day with my music,” Lillard said. “[Dropping an album] is something that I’m excited about because I know a lot of people don’t expect much from me because they feel they’ve seen this before. But I’m not like the other players that have done it. They’ll see in time.”
The bottom line to Lillard is he just wants to help people with his music. "That's what it's really all about," he says. "It's not about me."
We'll see if the reigning Rookie of the Year can live up to his dream in due time.