Lillard Puts Portland On Skates At 'Glow In The Park' Party At Oaks Park

by Casey Holdahl
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On Thursday night, Damian Lillard and adidas hosted at least hundreds of fans, if not more, at Oaks Park as a way to celebrate the release of the “Glow In The Park” colorway of Lillard’s signature sneaker, the Dame 4. Lillard has long enjoyed roller skating — he owns multiple custom pairs of skates — which was the inspiration for the design elements of the “Glow In The Park” colorway, so it only made sense to hold the event at the iconic skating rink in southeast Portland.

But while the venue was packed for most of the night — fans were still waiting to get in hours after the party had begun — Lillard looked like he was off in his own world while gliding across the rink in a new pair of skates, which were made from the upper of his fourth signature sneaker. While Lillard typically can’t go anywhere in the Portland metro area without drawing a crowd, those in attendance let him be, for the most part, while he repeated looped around the rink at Oaks Park.

“I’ve literally had times where I rented out the skating rink and it was me and three other people,” said Lillard. “I plug my phone up and just skate. It’s fun for me, I enjoy it. I enjoy rolling around out there listening to the music, kind of reminds me of my childhood. It’s always fun and it’s even more fun when you’ve got that type of environment, so I had a good time.”

But when he stepped off the rink, Lillard made the rounds visiting with fans, signing autographs, taking photos and walking (or rolling to be more exact) among the crowd. The 6-3 point guard has made a habit of making sure that when he asks fans to come to an event, whether it’s the hoops camps he puts on in the offseason or the assemblies he attends to promote the RESPECT campaign, he doesn’t just pop in, make a quick appearance and then recede into the background. Instead, he makes a point of establishing a connection to those who take the time to support him.

“I always tell people, it’s one thing to be able to play in front of 20,000 people and have basketball fans, but being able to do other things that I love to do like rap and have people come watch the show, go skating, stuff like that where I’m able to connect with fans as a person instead of an athlete, it’s always fun,” said Lillard. “And (Thursday) night I think it was really special because there was so many young kids. We were in an environment where I could have fun with the parents that was there and the kids that was there, so it was a good time.”

The “Glow In The Park” event was the third appearance Lillard made in two days, as he and the rest of the Trail Blazers visited the Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital on Thursday just a few hours before heading to Oaks Park. While those opportunities to make a connection outside of basketball, be it at a hospital or roller rink, are always valuable for all parties involved, it came at a time when the team has lost three-straight home games, which might have served to put some of their problems on the court into perspective.

“As professional athletes, we get so caught up in wins and losses,” said Lillard. ‘Good games and bad games, what everybody is saying, what the media is saying, what people saying to you on Twitter that you almost forget to live your life and have fun and enjoy the smaller things, have fun and be happy. I think I’ve been able to find things that make me happy, things that I enjoy and (skating) is just one of those many things.”