Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was already upset about how their road game ended against the Minnesota Timberwolves, telling reporters afterwards that opposing point guard Jeff Teague was “literally hugging me” before his failed game-winning shot attempt. Lillard also lamented the fact that he attempted just one free throw — on a technical foul — even though, “I attack the rim as much as anybody in this league.” The Blazers attempted just five foul shots to the Wolves’ 21 in a 108-107 loss.
So, Lillard was in no mood when two fans in Minnesota allegedly shouted anti-glay slurs at him from a crowd of autograph-seekers while he was boarding the team bus in a concourse of the Target Center.
— Habonimana Simon (@SimonHaboniman) December 19, 2017
“What did you say? Which one of y’all said that?” Lillard asked the crowd in video taken by several bystanders. Once a security guard pointed out the offenders with help from the crowd, Lillard added, “Don’t say s*** like that again,” asking the perpetrators to stop filming. “Don’t do that s*** no more.”
This is excellent advice, and it’s hard to imagine Lillard handling a confrontation with a fan any better. He responded to several questions about the matter on Twitter afterwards. “I don’t disrespect nobody … you don’t disrespect me … you feel me,” he said, adding, “The dude apologized and left.”
Lillard confirmed to ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes on Tuesday that one fan apologized after using an anti-gay slur. Despite security’s presence, no disciplinary action was taken against either fan, per Haynes.
A number of Minnesotans took to Twitter to assure Lillard those fans weren’t representative of them:
@Dame_Lillard as a timber wolves fan I would like to apologize for how those two acted it should not have happened. Keep working hard and don’t let fans like that get into your head.
— Evan Jirava (@EJirava) December 19, 2017
@Dame_Lillard hey my man as fan I'm sorry for what I heard happened last night. That person is not reflective of all people here in Sota.
— John brown (@bigdrawls55) December 19, 2017
@Dame_Lillard On behalf of all Timberwolf fans and Minnesotans I would like to sincerely apologize for the slurs used toward you after last night's game. I hope you know that it is not indicative of the Wolves fan base or the people of Minn. You are welcome in our state anytime
— Robin Pottratz (@RobinPottratz) December 19, 2017
The Blazers are scheduled to face the Timberwolves in Minnesota again on Jan. 14.
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