NBA All-Star and Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard grew up in Oakland, California, with a love for music. Also known as rapper Dame D.O.L.L.A., Lillard’s first album, “The Letter O,” is a result of his passion for using rap to make an impact on and off the court.
Lillard says Oakland is a place where you need to be sharp to survive. He didn’t just survive, he thrived, thanks to a family who helped him own his confidence and a high school basketball coach who shared his love for music.
Damian Lillard proved the doubters wrong by working hard, making good choices, and striking a balance on the court and in the studio. That balance extends to his commitment to the neighborhood he grew up in, where he says being a symbol of hope is part of doing his job.
“As a successful person from a neighborhood like mine, you symbolize the hope. If I go off and disappear, I’m not doing my job.” — Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013, becoming just the fourth unanimous Rookie of the Year in NBA history. Lillard is a two-time NBA All-Star and the first player in NBA history to participate in five events during an NBA All-Star Weekend (2014, New Orleans).
He is the spokesman for “Respect,” an anti-bullying campaign that encourages respect for all people. As a global ambassador for Special Olympics, Lillard empowers the athletes to showcase their full potential despite their disabilities.
Originally from Oakland, California, and with a long-standing passion for music, he started rapping in middle school. In September 2013, he launched an Instagram freestyle rap challenge called #4BarFriday. The community has grown to more than 70,000 followers, with many notable athletes and celebrities submitting videos.
After releasing original songs and mixtape freestyles on SoundCloud for a year as “Dame D.O.L.L.A.,” Lillard debuted his first album, “The Letter O,” in October 2016. The album includes 12 original songs and features Grammy-winning artists Jamie Foxx, Raphael Saadiq and Lil Wayne, as well as multi-Platinum selling artist Juvenile and critically acclaimed artist Marsha Ambrosius.
Lillard uses his rap as a way to make a powerful impact and share a message.