Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is all about his native Oakland. We’ve seen this multiple times throughout his heralded career.
With Lillard set to make his debut at the Golden State Warriors’ new San Francisco home Monday night, the All-Star spoke about about the team’s relocation. He also covered the different atmosphere at the Chase Center compared to Golden State’s former home in Oakland.
“It just rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve watched games here (Chase Center) and the crowd is just not the same,” Lillard said, via Logan Murdock of NBC Bay Area. “People leaving games early. Where’s the pride? The Raiders, they went 12-4 a few years back and been struggling, struggling like 10 years before that and it was still — the Black Hole is still there — you see the Nation in support.”
To be fair, these Warriors are not like the versions we’ve seen the past several seasons. They have been hit with a rash of injuries and are currently fielding a G-League team out there.
Though, Lillard is old school. He remembers going to Warriors games in Oakland when the team was a laughingstock. The atmosphere was still pretty awesome.
Lillard continued by talking about how the changing sports landscape in his native Oakland isn’t great.
“There’s a sense of pride in Oakland about everything that represents us and it’s like the Warriors go over the bridge, Raiders going to Vegas, it’s almost like the money grab,” Lillard continued. “I don’t like it. If that’s what you all want to know. I don’t like it.”
The NFL’s Raiders are playing their last handful of games in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas in time for next season.
Meanwhile, recent reports suggest that the Oakland Athletics could potentially follow them to the desert metropolis.
For those who grew up near or around Oakland, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Lillard is no different. He’s more than justified in this reaction.