Category Archives: athlete bio

damian lillard bio stats

Damian Lillard Bio: Mad Skills + Determination = Huge Contract & Shoe Deal

Damian Lillard Bio: When the time came for Damian Lillard to release his first shoe via his deal with Adidas in 2015, there wasn’t any doubt that his heritage would play a major role in the eventual creation of the final product.

Heritage has always been important to the Portland Trail Blazers guard, who isn’t just spouting empty words with his rap song “Loyal To The Soil”. No matter how many points he scores or how much money he makes, Dame DOLLA has never forgotten where he came from.

It’s why he returns to Oakland, Calif., every offseason to work out in his old high school gym, which has been newly renovated thanks to a generous gift from Lillard that also saw the addition of both a new weight room, a new music room, and a computer lab that gives students the chance to design their own shoes.

It’s why he made his shoe available in purple and black as a nod to his alma mater Weber State, who gave him the chance to prove he could play at the game’s highest levels. It’s why he returned to Weber State to get his degree in 2015, a move that helped his old high school point to him as motivation for struggling students.

It’s also why he wears the number 0 on the court: when interpreted another way, the number looks like the letter O, which has been a constant in each place that has shaped the person he became.

damian lillard shoes

Damian Lillard & The Letter “O”

Whether it’s been Oakland, where he bounced around at two different high schools before landing at Oakland High School, Ogden, Utah, where he dazzled the Big Sky Conference while building Weber State into one of the league’s most successful teams, or Oregon, the home of the Portland Trail Blazers that he now stars for, the letter O has always been a constant presence in Lillard’s life.

It’s why his debut album as Dame DOLLA was titled The Letter O and why his Dame 3 shoes feature his initials interlocking to form the same letter.

damian lillard 3 shoe adidas

The SHOES Tell His Story

Even the shoes themselves tell a story of what made Damian Lillard into the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and helped him sign one of the richest contracts in NBA history in 2015, when he inked a five-year extension with the Blazers worth $151 million.

The shoes themselves feature blade traction in the form of a sole design that resembles the milk crates that served as Lillard’s first basketball hoop. As a child, Lillard’s grandfather nailed a milk crate to a pole to create a makeshift hoop for Damian, and it was the time spent on that hoop that formed the foundation of a shooter who averaged 19 points in his rookie season and only improved from that lofty mark.

  • Damian Lillard shoes: Foot LockerGrab a couponnew for up to 20% off + free shipping
  • Damian Lillard: Finish Line – View coupons
    *I just tried the Foot Locker coupon and it works towards D Lillard shoes, (plus free shipping) but if there is a hot new release it might be excluded from promo codes for a while

Beyond the traction, the Dame 3 from Adidas features the cushion that gives the guard the bounce that has helped him play well beyond his size. Even though size isn’t much of a problem for him anymore now that he stands 6-foot-3, the bounce is a throwback to when he left high school at 5-foot-11, and needed that extra edge to get over players who had several inches on him.

damian lillard adidas contract

Photo credit: adidas.com

Damian Lillard’s HUGE Signature Shoe Deal

damian d lillard 2 shoesJust before signing his massive NBA contract extension, the 2013 Rookie of the Year inked a mega-deal in with Adidas. According to ESPN, Damian’s  shoe deal could be worth $100 million with incentives and options over 10 years.

That kind of “shoe money” eclipses even Kyrie Irving’s Nike shoe deal, and puts him in the top of the sneaker-deal stratosphere with players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose.

Even though his shoe deal numbers are mind-boggling, the shoes themselves are priced pretty fairly for a signature shoe, with the D Lillard 2’s currently selling for about $100 or so. Looks like the newly released D Lillard 3’s are more, but still in that range. (The current 15% off  free shipping coupon code for Foot Locker works towards them) 

The Dame 3’s relatively low price point is another hallmark of Lillard, who doesn’t want to ever leave any doubt about where his roots lie. He is involved in every bit of the creation of his shoe with Adidas, and both he and the shoe company make sure they’re on the same page when it comes to the message that he wants to come from his shoes.

“His story is all about his path and humble beginnings to getting where he is today,” Adidas designer Jessie Rademacher said.

“His whole goal is to inspire people, so he’s extremely connected to the community. When we design this shoe, we consider everything: keeping the price down so that it’s accessible, the amount of details that are personal for him, and making the sneaker extremely customizable because everyone has different footshapes.”

Damian Lillard Top Dunks:

Bio: Self Confidence + Determination = Impressive Stats (and nasty dunks!) 

Everyone also has a different path to their goals in life, and for Lillard, the path was paved by self-confidence and a determination to never give up on his dream of playing in the NBA. As a sophomore, Lillard was on his second high school in as many years at St. Joseph’s Notre Dame, where his coach seldom played him and at one point told him that not only was his NBA dream unlikely, but he wasn’t certain that Lillard would have a spot on the high school varsity team in his final two seasons of high school.

For Lillard, that was the extra push he needed to shift his already high motivation to reach the NBA into sheer determination that it would someday happen. He never gave up on himself, and his reward is now obvious.

“That motivated me a lot.” he said. “I really believed I was going to make it to the NBA. You couldn’t tell me it wasn’t going to happen.”

Biography: Career highlights:

  • 2x Big Sky Player of the Year: 2010, 2012
  • Rookie of the Year: 2013
  • All Rookie 1st Team: 2013
  • All-NBA 3rd Team: 2014
  • All NBA 2nd Team: 2016
  • 3x NBA All-Star
  • Damian Lillard full stats & salary: espn.com

Top photo credit: Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports

kyrie irving cavs dunks

Kyrie Irving Bio: A Hungry & Humble Phenom w/ a Sweet Shoe Deal!

Kyrie Irving Bio: 2011, the year that Kyrie Irving arrived in Cleveland as the No. 1 draft pick, was the beginning of a new era in Cavaliers basketball. Irving’s arrival came at the perfect time for the recent power of the Cuyahoga, (The County where Cleveland is located, named after the mighty Cuyahoga indians) as it followed one of the darkest seasons in the Cavaliers’ 45-year history.

Not only had Cleveland lost LeBron James to Miami in free agency the year before, (when he took his talents to South Beach) but the Cavaliers had completed an embarrassing 19-63 campaign that saw them lose 22 consecutive games, a drastic fall for a team that was a perennial championship contender as recently as the previous season.

In Kyrie We Trust!

kyrie irving amatuer playerInto the void stepped the consensus top amateur player in 2011, the Australian-born Kyrie Irving. Though hampered by an injured big toe that allowed him to play just 11 games in his Duke career, the guard’s phenomenal skills were obvious, possessing the vision to find a teammate on the fly, the agility to get into position, and the marksmanship to nail an open look at the basket.

Gradually, Kyrie Irving helped build the foundation to resurrect the Cavaliers from one of the league’s worst teams into a true contender for the title. The Cavaliers recognized what they had when after two seasons they inked him to a five-year, $90 million contract extension ($18 million / year) in 2014.

Their faith was almost instantly rewarded. When James returned to Ohio, Irving had created the atmosphere that allowed the league’s best player to take the Cavaliers over the hurdle that stymied his first tenure in Cleveland.

In two seasons alongside Kevin Love, Cleveland’s Big Three produced 110 regular-season wins, two Eastern Conference championships and the real pinnacle: bringing the city of Cleveland its first championship of any kind since 1964 by dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Kyrie Irving Top 10 Highlights

Kyrie’s Father, Drederick Irving “Hunger & Humility”

kyrie irving dadKyrie’s Mother passed away when he was only 4 years old, so the responsibility of raising Kyrie fell on his dad, Drederick’s shoulders . Throughout his son’s life, Drederick was never willing to let Kyrie settle for less than was possible for him to achieve, both on and off the court.

For the guard from West Orange, N.J., hunger and humility are values that his father Drederick instilled in him at a young age.

Whether it was in the classroom, in the home, or in the gym, Drederick always made sure that Kyrie set a reasonable goal for himself, a value that Kyrie still practices and plans to pass on to his daughter as she grows up. Often, he writes down both his goals and inspiring quotes to help guide him throughout the season and throughout his life.

kyrie irving shoes bio

Photo Credit: Nike.com

Kyrie Irving: It’s Gotta’ Be the Shoes!

kyrie 3 irving shoes blackA large part of Irving’s success in resurrecting the Cavaliers has been having the right shoes on his feet. There might be no position where shoes are more critical to success than a guard in the NBA because of the need for quick thinking and decision-making; and that’s before throwing in the nasty crossover dribbles that make a guard like Kyrie Irving so difficult for opposing defenses to stop.

When trying to knife through a defense to create a shot for either himself or a teammate, Irving often has to maneuver through a small window, with no more than a split-second to make his decision on which way to take the basketball before the defender realizes what he’s doing and cuts him off.

Executing such a move requires a lightning-fast first step and complete trust in your shoes’ ability to hold their ground in response to the force placed on them. You might say Kyrie’s shoes are the literal foundation of his success.

Kyrie Irving Sneakers from Nike: The Kyrie 3 – “JBY” and “H + H”

kyrie irving shoes jby hhThe Kyrie 3 shoe grants that freedom of motion with its pair of traction pods, giving the wearer total control over when they stop and where they stop. In the NBA, that can be the difference between creating a basket and creating a turnover.

“This game is separated by very finite moments where you have to get your shot off,” Irving said. “My shoe speaks to that. Being able to stop on a dime and cross over and go another direction, I can’t wait for players to try it.”

The Kyrie 3 highlights Irving’s unique style and personality in ways that go beyond his skills on the court. Each shoe is adorned with abbreviations of two of the quotes that have shaped his life from his earliest days:

  1.  JBY for “Just Be You” : “JBY, just be you is the motto I live by every single day because I’m happy to be an individual. I celebrate it. I think that everyone should celebrate their individuality” – Kyrie
  2.  H + H for “Hungry and Humble : “Hungry and humble is something my Dad gave me as a kid that I most likely will give to my daughter, whether she plays sports or not. It’s always staying hungry for more and never being satisfied. Acknowledging the present moment, what you’ve accomplished, and then thinking about what’s up ahead and how you’ll prepare yourself for that. Then of course the humility part. It’s supposed to go unnoticed, your humility. You’re supposed to be humble, you’re supposed to show respect to other human beings, to anyone. You respect other people’s journeys, and also you respect your own” – Kyrie

The shoes also have the roman numerals, “VIII” and “XIII” (the same numbers that are tattooed on his wrist) as a reference to his late mother’s birthday & death. Also, on the sole you’ll see the names, Azurie and Elizabeth,” the names of his daughter and wife.  Click to view larger:

Tip: If you’re looking for the latest Kyrie shoes, Foot Locker and Finish Line have the best selection online and almost identical pricing:

*You won’t ever find coupons for the newest Kyrie shoe release anywhere, but you might find kyrie shoes on sale, or get free shipping. Promo codes might work towards older styles, like the Kyrie 1 or kyrie 2.

Kyrie Irving’s Million Dollar Shoe Deal With Nike

kyrie irving shoes bioSpeaking of shoes, you can’t talk about Kyrie’s NBA contract without mentioning his shoe deal with Nike. Kyrie got his own signature shoe deal with Nike, and in 2014 they released the Kyrie 1.

So, how much money is Kyrie’s shoe deal worth? Shoe deals are a little complicated, but here’s an estimate of what Kyrie’s shoe deal is worth:

  • Kyrie is one of the faces of Nike Basketball, an endorsement worth about $5 million a year
  • 5% royalty on all shoe sales is standard. When the Kyrie 1 launched in December 2014, Nike sold over $7 million worth of Kyrie 1’s in just the first month after launch!
  • Add incentives & bonuses: Whenever a basketball player inks a signature shoe deal, they get bonuses based on performance. As of 2017, Kyrie is already a 3x All-Star, All-NBA, and 2016 League champ, so add bonuses to the annual total
  • Free shoes – Add in a lot of free pairs of shoes and Nike swag!
  • As the bulk of his $11 million in total endorsements, I’d estimate Kyrie’s total Nike deal is worth about $8 million a year, with the shoe deal alone being worth around $3 million annually. That’s a nice boost to his impressive current net worth

Kyrie’s Impressive Stats & Career Highlights: “Always Staying Hungry”

Irving’s dedication to success and hitting his goals have been evident in his consistency with the Cavaliers. Through his first six seasons in the league, he has never averaged fewer than 18 points per game, and his free throw percentage, a mark of concentration and mental fortitude, has never been below 85.5 percent, an average that usually ranks in the top 25 in the entire league.

Other career highlights include:

  • kyrie irving biography2010 McDonald’s All-American (high school)
  • 2010 Jordan Brand High School All-American (high school)
  • USA Olympic Gold Medal (2016)
  • 3× NBA All-Star (2013–2015)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (2014)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2015)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (2012)
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2012)
  • NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP (2012)
  • NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2013)
  • USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (2014)
  • FIBA World Cup MVP (2014)
  • NBA champion (2016)
  • Kyrie Irving’s full stats – espn.com

More important to Kyrie Irving than his individual stats has been the continued upward trajectory of his team. With the Cavaliers again among the NBA’s elite franchises, Irving seems poised to continue the success that has made him one of the NBA’s most exciting and productive competitors for years to come.

Photo Credit: Cleveland.com