It took all night, but former Weber State men's basketball star Damian Lillard got the news he didn't want to hear. Early on Sat. Aug. 23, hours after the game against Puerto Rico, Team USA published a list of the four players who were cut prior to departing for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Lillard was on the list. It probably wasn't what anyone in the three O's (Ogden, Oakland and Oregon) was expecting. Lillard did score the ball and play solid defense for the Americans during training camp--but he didn't play against the Puerto Ricans. The former Weber State standout took the news pretty well, thanking his fans for sticking by him during this three-month process--until some followers started asking more pointed questions on Twitter.
Then all hell broke loose. Lillard reverted back to his Oakland roots, putting one troll in his place. Another troll went after Lillard for a lack of playing time against Puerto Rico, and Lillard responded with a low blow: questioning what the troll had in his bank account.
When the dust settled and Lillard was asked by another fan on Twitter why he even says anything to people who try to hurt him, he said simply, "React or respond." In this case, both answers by Lillard were probably bad ones.
The sad part is, Team USA head coach Mike Krzysewski has probably heard all about Lillard's posts on Twitter by now. And so the posts may have an effect on Lillard's future with Team USA--which is unfortunate. If reports are true, Lillard was literally the last player cut--and may still have a future with Team USA if an injury occurs or if one of the 12 players chosen drops out.
Thankfully, Lillard softened his tone late Saturday, posting a humorous picture to his Instagram page that outlines his approach to just about every basketball endeavor. It was the Lillard that everyone knows and loves, the role model to millions--not the streetwise kid from Oakland who made snarky comments about how much money he earns compared to us common folk.
In the meantime, his fans are responding in kind to Team USA's snub. Some journalists are even calling Lillard's omission a glaring mistake by Coach K. The Weber State star was reportedly the 13th player, had Team USA chosen 13.
Whatever the reason, Lillard can now get back to doing what he does best: play basketball at an All-Star level and make more hilarious Adidas commercials. In the meantime, Lillard is waiting for a call from Coach K.