Did You Know This NBA Superstar Has Family Ties in Tri-Cities?
It's possible Damian Lillard made several visits to Tri-Cities.
Lillard, a six-time NBA All-Star, already has strong ties to the Pacific Northwest as the face of the Portland Trail Blazers. Those ties goe even deeper than that.
Tri-Cities has a rich history of being a sports town, with rabid fans filling up Gesa Stadium and the Toyota Center. The Americans and Dust Devils have produced all-star talents at the professional level while drawing thousands of fans out of their living rooms.
Tri-Cities had a fever.
But for 11 years, the Tri-Cities Fever thrilled fans with high-octane indoor football action. The team found immediate success in the National Indoor Football League, winning their only championship in 2005. In 2006, they joined the Arena Football League's af2 before playing their final six years of professional football as members of the Indoor Football League.
From 2010-2011, the Fever were dominant, making back-to-back appearances in the United Bowl, falling short both times. During this time they were quarterbacked by Houston Lillard, Damian's older brother. Even though both brothers are from Oakland, they found themselves playing professional sports in the Pacific Northwest. Here's a video of Damian and Houston playing catch and shooting hoops in a Tri-Cities park.
Houston Lillard was named to two All-IFL teams with the Fever and sought to carve out a career in the Arena Football League with the Portland Thunder, securing a try-out in 2014. After not making the Thunder, Lillard returned for one final season in Tri-Cities, leading the Fever to an 8-6 season in 2014.
Turning the page.
Since his retirement as a player, Lillard has relocated to the Portland area and kept himself busy with football. He's the founder of Team Lillard Football, a seven-on-seven program through his brother's foundation and in 2020, Lillard became the head coach for Jefferson High School's football team in Portland. If you look closely during a Blazers game on TV, you can see Houston on the sidelines cheering for his brother.