A thought occurred to me as Damian Lillard splashed shots from Space Mountain on Tuesday evening. If someone were to awaken from a 15-year coma right now, there'd be quite a few perplexing things for them to work through. Like who is in the White House, why everyone is in their own houses right now, how Saturday Night Live is on the air, etc. But of all the somewhat surprising elements to process, seeing what's happened to the game of basketball — at least the way Lilliard plays it — may be the most challenging obstacle of all for that person to regain connective tissue with reality.
Because folks, I am not a religious person yet cannot help but wonder if God and and Dr. Naismith ever intended for their creations to flaunt the laws of physics and peach baskets in this manner. Shooting 36-foot jumpers with the ease of a college freshman tossing a crumpled up piece of looseleaf paper into a Charlotte Hornets-themed wastebasket in the mid-90s boggles the mind.
The three-point shot may have become our new obsession and reached its saturation point years ago. Yet Lillard is finding a way to explore the space in new ways, mainly by drifting further and further from the hoop — physically and emotionally — a la a suburban married couple after a few kids.
This year he shot .424 on heaves between 30-40 feet. I'm not saying we should send him to our finest medical facilities and have doctors poke and prod him so we can understand what the hell is going on here. I'm also not not saying it.
A virtuoso performance in Game 1 against the mighty Lakers usurped control and narrative away from LeBron James. Dame Time was in full effect, with the infectious energy buoying Lillard's supporting cast to put together a decisive late run to break the Lakers' spirit.
Jusuf Nurkić gave voice to what we all already knew after another bomb found the bottom of the net, tapping his wrist to announce the arrival of Lillard's special time, leading to another somewhat obvious yet confounding thought.
Pray tell me how it is possible that Dame does not have a lucrative watch sponsorship at this late stage of his career? Where is the free market on this one? Where is the brute capitalism that's supposed to elevate all the good ideas?
Dame Time may have only recently reached its nadir, but it's not exactly a new phenomenon. The phrase has been around since the sharpshooter was 16 years old and embracing the big moment.
"Dame Time dawned in the spring of 2006, when Santa Clara University hosted a Memorial Day Weekend tournament for local AAU teams at the Leavey Center, and the Oakland Rebels fell behind the NorCal Magic by 20 points on the first court. Coach Raymond Young upbraided the Rebels at halftime, and afterward he pulled aside the enigmatic point guard he had almost cut a couple of years earlier. Damian Lillard was a gifted scorer but, to Young’s trained eye, an uninspired one. Only 16, Lillard already moved at the measured pace of a pro, cool and nonchalant. “Can you even take over a game?” Young asked. “Do you even know how to do that? The time is here. Can you get it done?”"
Someone at a time-keeping company, please, make a few phone calls and convert the alley-oop. Adding to the incredulity here is the constant reminder during games that Big Watch has its wrists all over the exposure opportunities. Tissott, if you didn't know, is the exclusive partner in the shot-clock department.
A dip into the NBA official store reveals it's also just crawling with some nice team-inspired Tissott designs and some other less attractive ones. So it's very possible that the particulars of the partnership preclude individual sponsorships and this layup idea is constantly being rejected by some legalese. If that is, in fact, the case then it seems completely neutering to some big bucks and big sales.
Look me in the eyes and tell me a Dame Time Watch wouldn't sell like hotcakes. (By the way, are we all in agreement that hotcakes, pancakes, and flapjacks are the same thing? Why are we using three words for one thing? Ernest Hemingway must be rolling over in his grave). There is a giant missed opportunity being missed each and every day. All while Lillard is going at The King and not missing with much frequency.
Seeing this in concert with the mind-numbing exquisiteness with which long-range pleas find their answers rattles even the most lucid mind, let alone that hypothetical medical marvel mentioned at the top. In a world where not much makes sense, the inexplicable has turned into the routine.
Each and every Dame Time, Lillard is hammering that point home — with or without the added revenue and microphone to move sweet, sweet ticking product.