Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard visited the students and staff at Wilsonville High School today to tip-off the second year of the “Respect, Pass it On” program.
Joined by representatives from Special Olympics Oregon, Les Schwab Tire Centers, adidas and the Trail Blazers’ front office, Lillard spoke at the all-school assembly about the importance of standing up for the rights of others. The NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year also shared life experiences that led him to become an advocate for anti-bullying.
“Just to get that type of response from them when I’m coming out there, it’s funny because when I was in high school, I never had that opportunity for someone to come to my school. It’s exciting to get that type of response.” — Damian Lillard
“I saw the excitement that it brought to some of the athletes’ faces and how much energy they brought to it. The more I had energy, the more energy they came back at me with. When you’ve got people that love and embrace that type of environment, it makes you want to be a part of it, too. Once I saw how they acted and how responded to us just being there, that meant everything in the world to me, that I could have that type of effect on somebody.” — Lillard on getting involved with Special Olympics in college
“I was blown away with all of the positive reaction the Respect Program received when it debuted last year. Based on the number of responses, it shows that people truly do care about sticking up for one another. I think it’s important to share how the Respect Pledge has been put into action, and publicly recognize some of the heroes in our community.”
“I say it all the time: I told myself if I ever had a chance to impact younger kids or have any type of effect on them that I would. This is another opportunity to do that.” — Damian Lillard
“It’s perfect. It goes hand in hand. For a lot of the same reasons is why I’m involved in both, because I see how big of a problem it is with bullying. With Special Olympics, they deserve a lot of the opportunities that other athletes have. It’s something that is worth fighting for and something that needs a face behind it that people will recognize and that people will respect. Both are things that I’m excited to be a part of.” — Lillard on the being involved in the Respect Campaign and Special Olympics
(All photos by Ryan Prouty)