Damian Lillard Told Mom to Quit Her Job After Signing First NBA Contract

  • Damian Lillard mentioned he instantly informed his mother to give up her job when he signed his $13 million rookie deal.
  • Lillard went to her job and helped her pack her desk.
  • Lillard now has $191 million in profession earnings and has created “generational wealth” to assist his household.

As quickly as he may, Damian Lillard informed his mother to give up her job.

Speaking with ESPN’s Marc J. Spears on “Andscape,” Lillard mentioned that when he signed his first NBA contract in 2012 — a four-year, $13.8 million rookie deal — he went to his mother’s job to assist her give up.

“First factor I did, all proper, I’m a millionaire now so I went to my mother’s job and was like, ‘Quit,'” Lillard informed Spears. “I actually went and helped her pack up her desk, every part. ‘They ain’t been doing you proper. They’ve been in your ass about each little factor. We ain’t coming again.’ So that was form of simply my preliminary thought.”

Lillard didn’t specify what his mother, Gina Johnson, did for a residing. However, he mentioned that in his senior yr at Weber State, she was “struggling” and residing in an residence together with her sister in San Leandro, California. Lillard mentioned he would strive to decide her up throughout cellphone conversations by telling her that he was going to get drafted quickly.

“We would discuss on the cellphone no less than each different day. And she’d be telling me how she had been feeling sick. They have been on her about her manufacturing. They have been mainly threatening to hearth her,” he recalled. “She was stressed and struggling at work together with her well being. And I used to be simply consistently telling her issues like, ‘The [Boston] Celtics have been at follow at present. The [Utah] Jazz was at follow at present.’ I used to be simply making an attempt to decide up her spirits.”

Lillard was drafted sixth total by the Portland Trail Blazers. Once he signed his contract, he went to his mother’s work to assist her give up.

“When I lastly acquired drafted and every part was just about set, I got here house, and we actually went to her job in San Ramon. We walked in, and all people was conscious that I simply acquired drafted … I used to be like, ‘We give up! We give up!'”

Damian Lillard smiles while sitting at a podium on draft night in 2012.

Damian Lillard on draft evening in 2012.

Ray Amati/NBAE through Getty Images


In an interview with “Court-Side Moms” in 2020, Johnson mentioned that she and far of her household had relocated to Portland with Lillard from California.

Lillard has spoken continuously of his upbringing in a violent neighborhood in Oakland. He informed ESPN in 2010, whereas he was nonetheless at Weber State, that he selected to go to the Utah-based college, partly, to get out of Oakland.

Now, as Lillard informed Spears, he has constructed up “generational wealth” to assist his household for years to come.

Lillard is in the midst of a four-year, $176 million contract. This low season he signed a two-year, $122 million extension with the Blazers, the richest in NBA historical past.

Lillard has already made $191 million in profession earnings, and if he finishes his extension, he’ll have made half a billion within the NBA.

“I put the time in and the work in and I do stuff the best method with the best intentions,” Lillard informed Spears. “And I put my household able the place my youngsters do not have to have the strain of me making an attempt to pressure them to be an ideal basketball participant or making an attempt to pressure them to be some nice athlete.

“I do what I achieve this they’ve the posh of no matter it’s you need to do, be comfy with it, be pleased with it … And then their youngsters may have that very same luxurious simply based mostly off of how I carry the place I’m now. So, I can create that kind of impact, not only for my youngsters, however for his or her youngsters and their cousins ​​and my brother’s youngsters.”

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