Just call him Big-Brain Dame.
Three years after leaving Weber State University—the obscure mid-major in Ogden, Utah, that recruited him out of high school—to enter the NBA draft, Damian Lillard is about to become a college graduate. Between elevating the Blazers to championship contention, signing lucrative endorsement deals and appearing in commercials with Nick Cannon and whoever the guy who plays Cliff Paul is, one imagines Lillard wouldn't have the time nor the inclination to worry about the diploma he abandoned after his junior year.
But according to campus newspaper The Signpost, the All-Star point guard somehow found time to continue his coursework, earning a bachelor's degree in technical sales.
"Growing up, this was one of the things I never really saw myself having an opportunity to achieve," he told the paper, "and it's a small dream come true."
It's also a promise kept. When Weber State basketball coach Randy Rahe shepherded Lillard to Utah from Oakland, it was on the condition that Lillard would "work hard enough to get his degree," Rahe told The Signpost.
Lillard—named the NBA's Western Conference Player of the Week for Feb. 23—is set to receive his diploma on May 1, "barring any postseason commitments." In doing so, Lillard enters a rarefied group: The article cites a survey from 2009 which found that only about 21 percent of NBA players have an undergraduate degree. So in case this whole ballin'-outta-control thing doesn't last, he can always fall back on, like, selling Xerox machines or something.