Lillard and Wall Draw A Crowd At Compound Gallery For ‘Florist City’ Release

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

On March 19, hundreds of fans lined up outside of Compound Gallery in downtown Portland for the launch of adidas’ “Florist City” collection celebrating the seasons of Trail Blazer Damian Lillard and Wizard John Wall. Fans waited outside for hours for the chance to purchase pieces from the collection, which features a pair of adidas Crazy 1s, a crew neck sweatshirt, a snapback hat and a pair of socks with iconography celebrating the coming of spring in both Portland and Washington, DC, and get their merchandise signed by both Lillard and Wall.

“I’m young and I’ve been able to have some success and help bring some excitement to Portland,” said Lillard. “With everything adidas has done for me and the position they’ve put me in to expand my brand, I think they realize it’s a great thing for me. It’s something for Portland to rally around, for adidas to become stronger in the Portland community. I think it’s great.”

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“I mean, look at it. It’s obvious it’s a really nice shoe. I’m a huge fan of what it represents: The Rose City and the fact that I’m in Portland. Great colorway. Once again, a great idea by adidas. I’m thankful for them being able to have another edition of a shoe for me.” — Damian Lillard

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“Oakland, I grew up there. Odgen is where I had my college experience. Here, I get to be an NBA player in this city. It will always be a part of me. Just the fact that I can have a Rookie of the Year shoe that represented all three of those places, the Portland Trail Blazer Crazy 8 that just came out and then this shoe representing this city, it’s a great feeling. Just to be able to have that opportunity, to be the guy that all of this stuff is around. I’m thankful.” — Damian Lillard

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To celebrate the release, adidas and Compound commissioned five sneaker artists to customize the Crazy 1s for Lillard.

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“The crew neck was kind of a surprise to me, but if we’re going to come out with a shoe, I think it’s only right that you have things to compliment that. My favorite thing was the socks. I love the sock, but the hat and the crew neck, it makes the shoe more versatile. Instead of just being a shoe that I could wear with my uniform, I’m wearing it right now with an outfit. This is something that I would wear if I’m going to hang out during the day. I think the fact that they added that with the crew neck and the hat and the socks that I can wear with the shoe, that makes the shoe more flexible. I can do more things with it. I was excited about that.” — Damian Lillard

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“It’s crazy because last time I was like, ‘Man, that’s a lot of people.’ This time I pulled up and the line was going around the corner. John is here to, that’s a part of it. Just the fact that they lined up to come see us and they’re waiting to come buy our shoes and our hat and our crew neck and our socks. It’s a cool thing because they line up to buy Jordans and LeBrons and KDs. Even though this isn’t really my signature shoe, this shoe represents me and that shoe represents John and these people lined up and waited for hours. It’s a real honor.” — Damian Lillard

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“John, that’s my guy. That’s my dog for real. We talk about how the season is going. This past summer at Team USA we shared a car service, we hung out a lot. Going into the season we both talked about wanting to be All-Stars and we both were able to do that this year. I’m proud of him, I know he’s proud of what I was able to do this season. Looking like his team is going to be in the playoffs, it’s looking like my team is going to be in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing. I’m happy for him, I know he’s happy for my situation and hopefully we can help grow this adidas brand together” — Damian Lillard

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Podcast: Leonard Talks Offseason, Free Agency On The Rip City Report

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
16 hours ago

Greetings fans of NBA offseason news. With the 2106 Draft now completed and the free agent moratorium less than 48 away, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

This week, Trail Blazers power forward Meyers Leonard joins the show to discuss his travels around Oregon this offseason, rehabbing from the shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his 2015-16 season, “sprint mechanics” and his upcoming restricted free agency. As for the rest of the show, we briefly recap Portland’s draft night, which netted the team Maryland forward Jake Layman, discuss what we know about the negotiations regarding the team’s television rights and discuss the unpredictability that is free agency.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. And consider ending the month by throwing a review on the iTunes.

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VIDEO: McCollum And Commissioner Silver Have Their Yearly Reunion

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 days ago

The relationship between Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver predates both of their current occupations. When the two first sat down for a interview back in 2010, McCollum had not yet been drafted by the Trail Blazers with the 10th overall pick of the 2012 Draft (though that would happen later that night) and Silver, while already tabbed to take over for outgoing commissioner David Stern, was still pulling duty as deputy commissioner.

Every year since then, McCollum and Silver have met up in New York City after the end of the season to discuss topics pertaining to the NBA and society in general. In 2014, they discussed the situation with the previous Los Angeles Clippers ownership, the age limit, emerging technologies, Silver’s first year as the NBA’s head honcho and their favorite Jay-Z tracks. In 2015, McCollum, armed with a few seasons of experience and a new job at The Players’ Tribune, followed up on some of the questions from the year before regarding the age limit while also bringing up issues such as ads on jerseys, transparency in officiating and head injuries.

 

And in their fourth annual interview, released on The Players’ Tribune as a part of McCollum’s summer internship with the athlete-owned website, the two discuss how far they’ve come (or in CJ’s case, how much weight he’s lost) since their first meeting in 2012, Silver’s handshakes, whether the NBA would have their All-Star Weekend at “remote locations” like the NFL, whether the league is considering moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, the 2016 NBA Finals and the suspension of Draymond Green and recent efforts to increase diversity in NBA front offices. You can watch an excerpt of the interview in the above video, or read the entire Q&A over at The Players’ Tribune.

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Layman Looking Forward To ‘Making An Impact’ With The Trail Blazers

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
6 days ago

Maryland forward Jake Layman took questions from the Portland media via conference call for the first time Friday afternoon since being acquired by the Trail Blazers from the Orlando Magic after he was selected with the 47th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. The 6-9 wing, who averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in four seasons with the Terrapins, discussed being selected by the Trail Blazers, whether he knew the team was interested in him prior to the draft, what skills he has that are most applicable in the NBA, his defensively strengths and his plans to come to Portland in time for summer league workouts…

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What was your initial reaction after being drafted by the Trail Blazers and your impressions of the franchise?

Jake Layman: First off, I’m very excited. It was such a stressful night. I was nervous all night, I didn’t really know what to expect with what was going to happen the way the draft was going last night. To finally hear my name called was just a big sign of relief, I was very excited, especially to be picked up by the Blazers because I’ve watched them play a lot. I think that their style of play fits me very well.

Why did you watch them a lot over the season?

Jake Layman: I think it was really more playoff time when I saw them play.

Where the Blazers on your radar? Did they interview you in Chicago at the combine, have any interaction with the team leading up to the draft?

Jake Layman: I did an interview with them at the combine but they were still in the playoffs, so they didn’t have really anybody there who could interview. That was really it. I didn’t work out for them. But I did know that they were very interested going into the draft, but they had no picks, so I really didn’t think much of it. So when my agent called me to tell me they traded in for the pick, I was excited.

What did you think about Portland’s recent playoff run?

Jake Layman: It was very exciting. Watching them with how young they are, how much talent they have, to be battling out there against some of the best teams in the NBA. I know how excited the fanbase was to see that happen.

What are your most applicable NBA skills right now and how do you see yourself projecting as an NBA player from a position or skill perspective?

Jake Layman: I think for me, my shooting ability, it’s gotten better each year that I was in college. So I think for me, just carrying that into the NBA is going to be huge. And also for me, I think being able to guard multiple spots on the floor is what teams are looking for now. I think that’s something I can do.

Do you know Pat Connaughton at all since you’re from the same area? Did you play against him at all?

Jake Layman: I know him pretty well. We never really played against each other in high school or anything, but just being from the same area. We were part of the Boston Globe all-star team one year, so yeah, we definitely know each other.

Do you know when you’re going to come to Portland, when you might sign and whether you’ll play for the team at summer league?

Jake Layman: Talking to the GM yesterday, I think I’m going to fly out to Portland either July 3rd or 4th and then I’ll be there for the practices leading up to summer league, which starts pretty soon after that. Then I’ll play in summer league. I’m not really sure about signing contracts or anything right now, but for summer league I’ll definitely be there.

What was your conversation like with Neil Olshey?

Jake Layman: He just asked me how I felt. All the emotion going through your head when you get drafted, it was definitely nice to talk to him. Asked me how I’m feeling and if I’m ready to get going. I was very excited to hear from him, I talked to Coach Stotts also.

How would you describe yourself off the court? What’s your personality like? How do you approach the game? Approach life or leadership or being in a locker room.

Jake Layman: I think for me, I’m a little different off the court than I am on the court. I think when it comes to being on the court, I’m definitely pretty intense. I’m always going hard, going crazy on the court. Then off the court, I’m a pretty quiet guy, very laid back, definitely a great locker room guy. I get along with everybody. That’s how I would describe myself.

You said you feel like your defensive versatility is an asset. Could you break down your strengths defensively?

Jake Layman: I think my on-ball defense has definitely gotten better over the years. But I think playing off the ball on defense, being able to come over and help and then block shots from the weakside, it is something that I’m definitely good at.

Do you feel like joining a young team, but one that has already had some success in the playoffs, give you an opportunity that other guys in the draft might not get?

Jake Layman: I think it’s a great chance to be able to come in this next year and help, make an impact on the team, just go in and help whatever way I can, whether it’s scoring, defending or all of those. I think the makeup of this team definitely gives me a chance to go in and make an impact right away.

What’s your hometown of Wrentham like? What was it like growing up there?

Jake Layman: Growing up in Wrentham, I’m one of five boys in my family, so there’s always something to do, always someone to play with. I was big into sports when I was little. My dad played baseball in college, my mom played basketball in college so I was always involved in the youth leagues, whether it was baseball, football or basketball. I think for me, my childhood was definitely run by sports when I was little growing up.

Can you see someone in the NBA who reminds you of yourself or someone who has the same skillset?

Jake Layman: Someone I’m trying to model my game after — I’m not saying I’m him right now, but it’s someone who I definitely think my game over time could be just like his — is Gordon Hayward, plays for the Utah Jazz.

Can you describe waiting to hear your name called last night?

Jake Layman: From the start of the night, you’re going in with the thought of what you’ve been hearing from teams and what your agent’s been telling you. Once the draft starts going, especially last night, it was definitely not what I expected. I was surrounded by a bunch of family and friends, so they were keeping me calm the whole time. I was just hanging in there, staying strong and to finally hear my name called, it was definitely a sigh of relief.

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