Damian Lillard earns degree from Weber State

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PORTLAND (ABC 4 Sports) – Former Weber State star Damian Lillard has already earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors, was named to two All-Star teams, and has helped turn the Portland Trailblazers into a Western Conference power.

But next month, Lillard will earn something he may be most proud of — his degree.

“I’m very proud of it,” Lillard said. “That’s something that I told my mother I was going to do.”

And Lillard knows you don’t break promises to your mother, even though you might forget to tell her when you actually do it. Lillard’s cousin broke the news on social media.

“She posted something on Instagram, like congrats to my cousin,” Lillard said. “Then she came downstairs and started telling me congratulations to my face, and my mom was like, ‘What?!’ Because I forgot to tell her.”

Lillard, who left Weber State after his junior season, spent the last two years before practices and between games earning his bachelor’s degree in technical sales.

“I did most of it online,” Lillard said. “But the tests I took, I actually went on campus when I was there and took them in front of somebody.”

So why technical sales?

“I chose something that I could do different things with,” Lillard explained. “I could go into business with that degree, and I think the most important thing was that it taught how to sell myself.”

A 2009 study showed that only 21 percent of NBA players actually earned their degree. Lillard, who plans on walking in graduation ceremonies at Weber State next month if the playoffs don’t get in the way, never thought this was something he would do.

“Growing up in Oakland, it was like you see a rapper or a football player or a basketball player,” Lillard said. “But it was never like, ‘I’m going to get a college degree.’ That wasn’t something that I said I was going to go out and do until I got there and my mom said that I had to get a degree. It’s exciting. I’m glad that I actually went through with it.”

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