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Damian Lillard named to NBA’s 75th anniversary team

By Brett Hein - | Oct 22, 2021

Jack Dempsey

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) passes the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

As the NBA unveiled the 75 players named to its 75th anniversary team over the past several days, some familiar names popped up.

Namely, as far as Utah is concerned, Hall of Famers and all-time Jazz greats John Stockton and Karl Malone both reprised their roles on the anniversary team after they were named to the NBA at 50 team 25 years ago.

But on the last day of revelations, another arose: Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard.

Lillard is one of just 11 active players to be named to the list of 75. The man out of Weber State adds a monumental honor to his expanding legacy that now includes being the only player out of the Big Sky Conference to be named to a college All-American team, an Olympic gold medal, and six All-NBA selections, not to mention growing attraction in sponsorship ventures and some industry acclaim for his second career in rap.

“It’s a special honor, probably the best honor of my career so far to be considered one of the 75 best in a 75-year history,” Lillard told the Portland Trail Blazers team reporter.” That’s a hell of an accomplishment, a hell of an honor. And I’m still playing.”

After leading the league in minutes as a rookie in the 2012-13 season, Lillard’s 10th NBA season is now underway. He has career averages of 24.6 points, 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, with shooting splits of 43.8% from the field, 37.4% from 3, and 89.3% from the free-throw line.

The NBA 75th anniversary team has many of the expected shoo-ins from the NBA at 50 team, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.

New, inactive additions from the 50th to the 75th teams include the late Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan and others.

The team also includes four players to play in the first NBA All-Star Game in Paul Arizin, Bob Cousy, George Mikan and Dolph Schayes, and the first winner of the NBA MVP award, Bob Pettit.

The 11 active players to make the team along with Lillard are: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

The team was selected by a panel of 88 voters comprised of current and former men’s and women’s professional players, and media members.

Photo supplied, Portland Trail Blazers Lillard

MORE: ‘I really bleed purple’: Damian Lillard’s full speech at Weber State Hall of Fame induction banquet

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