The NBA calls it an All-Star "break," but Damian Lillard must not have received the memo. This weekend in New Orleans, the Blazers' reigning Rookie of the Year and Slam Magazine cover star is making history—and, most likely, a whole bunch of money for himself and his marketing team—by competing in five events, including both the All-Star and Rising Stars games, the dunk contest, the three-point shootout and the skills challenge, which he won in 2013.
And that's just what he's doing on the court: On Friday night, Lillard, along with legendary Cash Money rapper-producer Mannie Fresh, will host the first live installment of his weekly Instagram-based rap battle, 4 Bar Friday. Each week, entrants—which have included fellow All-Stars LeBron James and Paul George—upload videos of original 15-second raps, with the winner hand-picked by Lillard himself. The point guard has invited eight aspiring MCs from across the country to "the Battle of New Orleans," and naturally, there's a Portland representative: 24-year-old Gordon Peterson, a.k.a. Dr. Goon.
A pianist and trumpet player from a young age, Peterson didn't start rapping until high school. "I was always rhyming in my head since I was little kid," he says. "Sophomore year, I started fooling around, writing little things in class, nothing I ever really showed anybody. Then I realized, as I did more and more and my skills developed, how much I enjoyed it."
Peterson, a "big Blazers fan," has never competed in an actual in-the-flesh rap battle before, but he has placed in the 4 Bar top four several times. He often augments his entries with visual props, including Mexican wrestling masks and his cat, which he wears on his head in one clip. He hasn't been given much information as to the format of the live 4 Bar competition, but Peterson says he's been writing furiously, in four-bar snippets and full verses, to prepare.
"I'm trying to keep it light and easy and not do anything too serious," Peterson says. "The harder I try, the less productive I become with the music. I let the lyrics write themselves."
Check out Dr. Goon's highlight reel below. And while we could not confirm if Lillard would also be partaking in any Pop-a-Shot tournaments or crawfish eating contests to fill the rest of his time in New Orleans, you will be able to catch him on TNT at basically any given moment this entire weekend.