Damian Lillard is one of the NBA’s biggest stars, but during the summer he gets active with his other projects. He recently launched an insole company focused on athlete foot health and owns a car dealership outside of Portland. Lillard is also working toward the release of his fifth rap album.
The star point guard joined Front Office Sports to discuss his thriving life off the court, his campaign with Modelo to encourage people to take advantage of the summer, and how he feels just before he has a big game.
Listen to the full episode and subscribe at the links above.
Lillard on his company, Move Insoles: I have a history of Foot injuries. I’ve had plantar fasciitis, I had a fracture on my right foot, fifth metatarsal. With how often I was training, how often I was playing in tournaments and playing in college and all the travel, all of the pounding that you do on your body, it all comes down to your feet.
I don’t think it’s talked about enough how important our foot health is. Just how we take care of our feet. It seems like we take care of everything else, but the things that we stand on and the things that we depend on and need the most to function properly, we just never pay attention to them. I learned the hard way from just having these foot injuries.
I started to look at the [Amateur Athletic Union] AAU culture now. A lot of these kids are five years old, six years old, and they’re having trainers. I didn’t have a trainer until I got to college. So it just shows you how much they’re just poundin’ and poundin’ and poundin’ and poundin.
They play on all these different AAU teams. They’re playing a million games in the summer now. They’re playing in Pro-Ams. They’re playing pick-up. They’re training more. So I think it’s, for the sake of our game, I think it’s just important to focus more on our foot health.
On what he has learned from being an entrepreneur and from co-owning a car dealership, Damian Lillard Toyota: The thing that I’ve learned most is it’s important to create a community. I think a lot of times we try to sell things to people and you try to convince people and you try to persuade them and you’re competing against the competition. But I think ultimately people want a safe place. People want a home. They want an environment where they can go and connect. They want things that are authentic.
I’ve learned that works in business, when people feel like they can just relax and they don’t have to be on guard about what you’re trying to sell them or how they can be taken advantage of. It’s appreciated on a different level. You have more success that way, when you just do things the right way.
On how he spends the summer: I have my basketball career, but the summer is when I come alive in other areas of my life. I’m dropping my fifth album next month. I love boxing, so I’m in the ring getting rounds in for the first couple weeks of the summer. I do my neighborhood picnic in the neighborhood I grew up in where we give away school supplies, we do face paintings and zip lines, live performances for local aspiring artists, food, we give away t-shirts, free haircuts, women get their hair done. We do everything.
On his next rap album: My intro to my album is called Lillard University. And it’s really just about my dad and how I grew up under him and how he was a father figure to not just me, but a lot of my cousins. We were all raised under the same roof and his way is what we know. He made us solid people. He made us disciplined, tough, observant, just solid people.
People are gonna enjoy it because it’s my most transparent project by a long shot. It’s my best one too.
On whether he feels in control of his NBA career: I always feel in control of myself. I don’t, I don’t do power trips. I don’t try to flex muscles or a strong arm, anything. I’m always in control of myself. And to me, that’s all that, that matters.
On if he can feel a big game coming: I wouldn’t say I can feel it before the game. It’s happened before where I was like, tonight gonna be a big one. Like before we played OKC game five in 2019, the night before I knew I was gonna have a big game. But usually I can feel it when the game starts.
On the A’s potentially leaving his hometown of Oakland: They’re just going to take all our teams away, man. I think it’s when the Warriors went to San Francisco and then the Raiders went to Vegas, I think that kind of just numbed everybody, you know.
I mean, the Coliseum – I saw something where there was a possum in the ceiling. And I was just like, man, at this point, they’re letting it get that bad so they can get the team out of there. And I think people are numb to what’s going on because the other two teams already left Oakland, so what’s a third?