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.”
“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
“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
To celebrate the release, adidas and Compound commissioned five sneaker artists to customize the Crazy 1s for Lillard.
“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
“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
“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
Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.
Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.
But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.
“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”
Sounds about right.
On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…
On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”
On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”
On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”
His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”
On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”
On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”