As is usually the case, it’s been a busy offseason for Damian Lillard. He spent some time vacationing in Mexico, signed a super max contract extension in Las Vegas, recorded his third full-length album in Los Angeles (coming soon), put on one week of youth camps in Beaverton and is currently in the middle of a second round of camps. He’ll also return to Las Vegas in early August for a week of tryouts for Team USA.
But those are fairly common events during the course of a typical Damian Lillard offseason. What isn’t common, and what makes Lillard’s 2019 summer a bit different, is joining the cast of one of the most anticipated sports movies in the last decade.
Earlier this summer, Lillard joined LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Diana Taurasi and a host of other professional NBA and WNBA players, as well as the likes of Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green for the filming of Space Jam 2, the sequel/remake of the Michael Jordan vehicle, which was originally released in 1996. James takes the lead role this time, with Lillard presumable picking up one of the roles filled by Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson in the original.
Lillard spent a week in Hollywood for the shoot, which required both long days and sacrificing his facial hair.
"That was different," said Lillard of shooting the movie. "You all know I've always had a babyface, so this season I grew a beard out, it took me like six months to grow it. I show up on the set, they make me shave it off for the animation. That's why I look like this now. It was bare-faced for the animation, 15-hour days, showing up on the set at 6 a.m., leaving at 9 p.m. It was long."
And he might not be done just yet. While it sounds like the bulk of Lillard's work on the movie is done, he did say it's possible he'll have to "go back one more time" to wrap up his responsibilities for the movie, which is scheduled to be released in 2021.
Lillard wouldn't divulge much of anything about his role in nor the plot of Space Jam 2 other than to say "it's significant, it's not a cameo." The time commitment was significant, as was the requirement to be clean shaven, but despite the sacrifices, Lillard thinks it'll be worth the effort.
"I'm not going to say it was fun, eventually it was fun, and now I'm happy I did it knowing that I was a part of something like that," said Lillard. "I think it's going to be great."