Damian Lillard has had an interesting few days. After he bricked two free throws in the final minute of the Blazers' matchup with the Clippers and then went to war on social media with Pat Beverley and Paul George, he called out Skip Bayless. First he did so on Twitter, calling Bayless a clown for "backpedaling" on a previous conversation they had after the Undisputed host said he wasn't buying Dame Time. Then, on Carmelo Anthony's Youtube show/podcast, Lillard further elaborated and said he had a call with Bayless where he wouldn't stand by what he said on television.
Bayless addressed the subject today in a lengthy segment with Shannon Sharpe and gave the entire history of their interactions in quite a tell-all.
The whole thing is fascinating and worth a watch, but here are the important bits. Bayless said Lillard hadn't earned the right to speak like a face of the NBA when he said he wouldn't play in the bubble if the league didn't give the Blazers an opportunity to make the playoffs. After that segment, Lillard apparently hunted down Bayless' phone number from other media members to reach out and discuss Bayless' comments. Bayless called him and the two had a conversation where, according to Bayless, he explained to Lillard exactly why he felt that way based off Lillard's playoff failures, but acknowledged he was overemotional because this happened on May 27, when the fate of sports was still very much up in the air.
Bayless adamantly denies that he "backtracked" as Lillard claimed during the conversation, and actually doubled down on everything he said. The conversation apparently did not end on a good note, as Bayless says by the end they were both rather worked up.
He also denies Lillard's statement that he asked Bayless why he was always hating on LeBron James. It was all quiet on the Western front until Bayless' tweet that Lillard responded to yesterday. Bayless says Lillard also texted him about it, saying he might be "the most phony MF on TV," and called him a bozo. He then told Bayless to "lose my damn number" which Bayless was understandably a bit confused by because Lillard was the one who wanted to talk to Bayless in the first place.
It's worth noting: Lillard claims Bayless was the one who tracked down his number.
Bayless posits that Lillard is upset because he thought he would be free of criticism on Undisputed after speaking with Bayless personally. Sharpe took this opportunity to explain why athletes might feel like Bayless is overtly critical of their failures and slow to praise their successes, which was very interesting to hear. Bayless wraps up by saying he invited Lillard onto the show to discuss their issues on air, which seems unlikely given everything that has transpired, but the invite is out there.
Whew. This is one of the better athlete-media member beefs we've seen recently. We can only hope Lillard actually agrees to go on Undisputed once he's out of the bubble. It would be must-see television.