Back in the 2011 playoffs, when Damian Lillard was still at Weber State and a longshot NBA prospect at best, he tweeted at LeBron James:
@KingJames please get yo ass out of “too cool” mode and takeover . PLEASE nigga!!! Damn!!!
@KingJames I may have been one of yo biggest fans. But THIS series u played like a straight pussy.
@KingJames talents to south beach? NIGGA!! You took the spotlight nd a ego. You left the talents haha. Them shits in Cleveland .
Those tweets came to light last week, and Lillard quickly deleted them. Then, he reached out to LeBron and addressed them publicly.
Lillard, via Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:
“One of my coaches used to always tell me that when you make mistakes, you’ve got to face the music,” Lillard said on Thursday, when asked about the tweets. “In college, me and some of my college teammates were messing around. I was the obvious Miami Heat fan and they wanted Dallas to win and I made some comments about LeBron that was uncalled for. And that just goes to show that a lot of kids now on the social network, a lot of the stuff that you put out there, you never know when it can come back. So my advice to them is to be careful with that.
“It was just irresponsible. It’s something that I’m not proud of. But I can also say that I’ve grown up since then. And I was just a young kid doing crazy stuff with my teammates.”
Lillard said he has reached out to James since the tweets were posted and apologized. He said the issue was “not a big deal” between him and James, who have a “friendship.”
“Luckily I know LeBron,” Lillard said. “Me and LeBron are cool. We’ve talked about that. And he knows that I respect him a lot. I’m a huge fan of his.”
LeBron, via Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer:
“I don’t really get into social media like that,” James said Thursday. “He came to me before it even got to me and we hashed out it out right there. So no big deal.”
This was the right way for Lillard to handle this. The tweets were far from becoming, but 20-year-olds make mistakes where 24-year-olds know better. A matured Lillard has done more than enough to put this behind him.
That said, the Trail Blazers and Cavaliers play tonight. I was hoping – against the odds – Lillard would double down and/or LeBron would hold a grudge to make this game more entertaining. Either way, the contest between talented division favorites should be enjoyable.