The time of the year is approaching when all-stars are selected from teams and recognized for having impressive individual statistics, contributing to their team’s success, and being respectful teammates. There are only a certain number of all-star spots available and not everyone who is deserving gets selected.
This past Thursday, the NBA announced the reserves for the Eastern and Western conference. The reserves are voted on by coaches and the staters are selected by a fan vote. There were many players having excellent seasons who were not selected by the coaches or fans to play in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game taking place in New York from February 13th-15th.
Some players who deserved an opportunity of playing in the NBA All-Star game are: Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies, Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the biggest NBA All-Star snub appears to be Damien Lillard from the Portland Trailblazers
The Portland Trailblazers are one of the top teams in the elite Western Conference and are jockeying for home-court advantage in the NBA Playoffs. Damien Lillard is the starting point guard on the Trailblazers and is on the short list for NBA MVP candidates.
In a recent interview, Damien Lillard shared his thoughts about not making the NBA All-Star team:
“I just felt disrespected,” Lillard said, “because I play the game the right way. I play unselfishly. I play for my team to win games and I produce at a high level. I think what I bring to the game as a person, my makeup mentally, how I am towards my teammates, how I am towards the media, how I am towards fans, I think what an All-Star represents in this league and what you would want people to look at as an All-Star, I think I makeup all those things….
“I thought I did all that I could do individually,” Lillard said. “I thought my team has been successful. It was something that I can’t control. Everything thing I can control to give myself the best shot, I did.”
Damien Lillard is a great example of a very good player who is not letting being left off the team effect his game. It will be interesting to follow his stats over the next few weeks, but you can rest assure that Lillard is going to do everything he can to prove that he should have been an NBA All-Star. Even a player of Damien’s caliber has to be patient and wait his turn. He can’t go out on the court and force up bad shots and try to score 30 points every night. Damien should play with the same poise and composure, continue to be clutch down the stretch, and continue to help his team get wins.
Damien Lillard’s story is a prime example of how an athlete can use something negative as motivation to play with an extra chip on his shoulder, with an extra bounce in his step, and prove that he is one of the elite players in the NBA.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, where you feel as though you didn’t get selected for something you believe you earned, use it as fuel to go out there on the court and change the opinions and minds of those who overlooked and under appreciated you.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.