Damian Lillard has never shied from dismissing the easy road in favor of marking his own path, no matter how difficult it might be.
This was true in high school, when Lillard transferred from basketball powerhouse St. Joseph Notre Dame to Oakland High because he wanted more playing time. He carved his own way again in college, ultimately capturing the attention of NBA scouts despite playing at Weber State (Utah).
Lillard has thrived since Portland drafted him sixth overall in 2012, leading the Blazers to the postseason the last four seasons while accumulating Rookie of the Year, All-Star (twice) and All-NBA (twice) honors along the way.
Unlike many young stars, however, Lillard is openly opposed to joining forces with similar talents in order to increase his odds at snagging an NBA ring. In an appearance on Everyday Struggle of Complex News, the Blazers point guard reflected on Golden State's overwhelming talent since acquiring Kevin Durant -- and why he would not follow a similar route to a ring.
"I wouldn't have done it," Lillard said. "For me, I'm not joining nobody. I would not win a championship before I go and team up and do all that. Unless it was something I couldn’t control. I wouldn't have did that."
When pressed on whether he would leave for greener pastures later in his career, the 27-year-old reinforced his personal policy, but made it clear he had no issue with anyone who acts differently.
"I'm saying this because this is how I feel, not how I feel at the moment," Lillard said. "That's how I feel about it. I think if that's what somebody wants to do, I'm not mad at them for doing it. I'm just telling you what I'm not going to do."