Damian Lillard makes history with 3-point Contest, All-Star MVP wins

2024 NBA All-Star Game

2024 NBA All-Star Game

INDIANAPOLIS — Before Sunday, only one player had ever won an All-Star Saturday Night event then won All-Star Game MVP the following night: Michael Jordan (1988).

Make that two — Damian Lillard did both in Indianapolis this weekend.

A day after repeating as the 3-Point Contest winner, Lillard dropped 39 and snatched the MVP away from hometown hero Tyrese Haliburton in the All-Star Game, giving him the rare double.

“Any time you’re mentioned in the same category as Mike, it’s an honor, and it’s a major accomplishment, even if it’s All-Star Weekend,” Lillard said postgame, sitting next to his MVP trophy. “If it was that simple, more people would have done it since 1988. So that’s a major compliment for me to be mentioned in the same conversation as far as that.”

Everyone knew this was Lillard’s night when Luka Doncic missed a dunk and a few seconds later Lillard was shooting from half-court.

And he wasn’t done, Lillard put an exclamation point on the East win with another half-courter.

“The first one, I was super, super loose,” Lillard said. “Then the last one, I was actually kind of stiff. So I just had to shoot it a little bit higher. I got two of them in.”

“Me and Kawhi was in awe of them shooting from the three-point line like it was a free throw,” Kevin Durant said. “That’s strength, power, muscle memory. That’s someone who works extremely hard every day on their craft to be able to do that without flinching. It was just normal and natural motion.”

It’s been a year of change for Lillard, who moved from the West Coast to the Midwest and has been through a couple of head coaches (plus his long-time coach in Portland Terry Stotts left before the season even started). It’s been a season of adjustments.

“Like you said, it’s been a tough year, just the transition, being on a new team…” Lillard said. “I think any time you have these types of experiences where you have an adversity and things not just flowing like you expect it to or like you would want it to, I think that’s the time you’ve got to just show who you really are. You’ve got to keep doing what you do, keep believing. When you do that, usually it comes back to you. There’s some type of reward that comes forward.

“You can’t just fold. And that’s what my mentality is. I did come into the weekend, when I knew I was going to do the 3-Point, I was like I’m going to try to win. I’m not going to be casual and cool about it. I’m going to try to win again.”

He did just that. Then he came out firing in the All-Star Game itself.

The rest is literally basketball history.