Lillard’s summer kids camp returns after 2 years hiatus

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 3:48 PM PDT
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BEAVERTON Ore. (KPTV) – He’s royalty in Rip City and he’s here to stay. Damian Lillard recently signed a contract extension keeping him in Portland through the 2026 season.

For the first time since 2019, the Trail Blazers star is back to hosting his annual summer kids camp.

“Kids love being here, know what I mean?” Lillard said. “It’s like a cheap daycare that the kids love to be at!”

It was fun to stay and play again after three years away from the Beaverton Hoop YMCA.

“With COVID, you know, people had bigger fish to fry. People were trying to find a way. Struggling where the money is coming from or what, am I sick? Am I going to make it through?” Lillard said. “Once we kind of started to come out of it, like we have a little bit, everybody was like, ok, camp is coming back? I am excited and I am excited for it to be back, it’s been awhile.”

The listening ears were on in Lillard’s class on the court.

“You know, these kids don’t forget. They remember everything.”

No man does it all by himself. Dame hopes that rings true as the 32-year-old six-time NBA All-Star returns from abdominal surgery back in January.

“I was still able to have 50 on a night or I was still able to move kind of well some nights and it would be like after the game where I would go home and I would have a bulge, like over my pubic area, it was like a baseball was under there, that type of swelling,” Lillard said.

What felt like the worst of times was for the best in the future and the now.

“It’s crazy to say right now because I never thought I would say it -- it was exactly what I needed.”

All in Rip City and wherever you may be are happy campers with Dame’s great new deal that will keep him with the Blazers through 2026 when Lillard will cash in for $63 million at the age of 36.

“I really feel as strong as I have ever felt,” Lillard said. “I feel healthy.”

Lillard and the Trail Blazers tip-off training camp in September.