Lillard gives special athletes behind the scenes tour of the Moda Center


Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard took a day off the NBA grind and gave back to the community Friday.

Lillard took a group of lucky young athletes on the tour of a lifetime at the Moda Center in an event that was part of Lillard's RESPECT program, which encourages better relationships among community members.

After taking the young athletes on a tour of the Blazers' facility, Lillard answered questions and even signed autographs for the aspiring players.

The kids even got the chance to test their skills against Lillard on the practice floor.

Each of the players who attended the event are part of the Unified Basketball team, which includes athletes with and without intellectual disabilities who compete as part of Special Olympics Oregon.

Lillard says meeting with the athletes was a humbling experience.

"I caught a lot of them just staring at me in amazement,” he said. “Just the fact that I was there with them, that brings something to me, as well just the excitement that I can bring to them because I just view myself, you know, as a normal guy.”

Event coordinators say the meet up was a reward for such a great season, and for the players, the payoff was worth it, as they described meeting Lillard as “amazing.”

Organizers with the Unified Basketball League say the event was a success, and for many of the players just getting the chance to meet a professional athlete was a dream fulfilled.

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