On Wednesday night it was reported that Damian Lillard had accepted an invitation to compete in the dunk contest at NBA All-Star Weekend in a week and a half. The Portland Trail Blazers point guard was said to also be considering the possibility of entering the three-point contest, as well.
Now it seems like Lillard’s hat is in that ring as well. According to a report from Jason Quick of The Oregonian, Lillard’s agent has confirmed that his client will be in the dunk contest and said that he has also decided to compete in the three-point contest.
What’s fascinating about Lillard being in both the three-point and dunk contests this year is that now puts his All-Star Weekend activities count up to five. Lillard will also be defending his title in the skills challenge, will compete in the Rising Stars Challenge as a sophomore player, and was also voted as an All-Star Game reserve in the Western Conference. This makes Lillard the first player to ever compete in five events at All-Star Weekend.
The positives for Lillard and the league as a result of this decision are calculable. Lillard gets his name further out in the spotlight as one of the NBA’s bright young stars and the league, in turn, gets a young star in these competitions that desperately need star-power.
As far as the downside goes, though, the only real negative that can be drawn from this is some convoluted hypothetical. As pointed out by Zach Lowe of Grantland, there’s a chance that there would be a backlash if Lillard struggled after the All-Star break, with people claiming that he should have rested instead of participating in five separate competitions. However, there are a lot of “ifs” in that scenario, so that should be of little worry to the point guard.
Looking past all of that, though, it’s going to be fun to see Lillard show off all of his skills. Over his first year and the half in the league, one of the reasons he’s been so successful and dangerous is his versatility and ability to affect the game in multiple ways. Come All-Star Weekend, he’ll clearly have the opportunity to put that versatility on display.