OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) --Some fans at Oracle Arena were rooting for a hometown player who was going up against the Warriors in Game 2 of the second round the NBA Playoffs.
Damian Lillard is from Oakland and plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. He's a young man known as much for his hard work, and big heart as his athletic ability.
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Oakland Rebels Coach Melvin Landry told ABC7 News that young Lillard wasn't always the biggest, or the fastest player on the court, but he always worked the hardest. "He always kept a ball with him, he always wanted to be around the outside courts or inside courts and it's even proven for what he's done by going to the NBA, having to choose a track and still going back and getting his college degree," Landry said.
During his sophomope year of high school, Lillard attended St. Joseph's Notre Dame in Alameda, the same school that produced another Bay Area star before him named Jason Kidd. "What you see with Damion is, I follow his career and every time he doesn't get something he does something to get better and he didn't get to start on our varsity team here, he worked on Oakland High, worked on his game and got better," St. Joseph's Coach Don Lippi said.
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His junior and senior years, Lillard transferred back to his hometown and played for Oakland High under coach Orlando Watkins, who remains close with Lillard to this day. "Oakland definitely breeds a different type of individual, so I think being from the streets of Oakland and understanding that to be the best you have to beat the best," Watkins said.
All his coaches said as good of a player Lillard was he's an even better person and although he now plays for Portland, he continues to give back to the community and the kids of Oakland.
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