It's the game winner that keeps on winning.
You probably don't need the reminder, but it's so nice to revisit: On April 23, 2019, the Portland Trail Blazers entered Game 5 of their first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 3-1 lead. With the score tied in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Damian Lillard dribbled the ball just a few feet inside half-court, waved off his teammates, and threw up a 37-footer in the face of Paul George, considered one of the better defenders in the NBA.
Swish. Pandemonium. Wave. Dogpile. Ice glare—then, in the offseason, the complete disintegration of the Thunder's roster.
It was a glorious moment. And now it's a shoe.
Earlier today, Portland-based ESPN sneaker reporter Nick DePaula tweeted that Adidas is releasing an upcoming special edition of Lillard's signature shoe, the Dame 7s, conspicuously designed in blue, black and orange—Thunder colors. In case there was any doubt, Lillard's stats from Game 5 are printed under the tongue: 50 points, seven rebounds, six assists.
Sneaker historians will have to weigh in, but this would appear to be the first instance of a player trolling another franchise with a shoe.
To be fair, though, this probably has less to do with the Thunder—who are currently in rebuild mode, having traded away basically every player from that series—than Paul George, who's emerged as perhaps Lillard's truest arch-nemesis in the league.
George, aka Wayoff P, referred to Lillard's deep 3-pointer as "a bad shot" in the postgame press conference. He then fled to the Los Angeles Clippers, and the two exchanged barbs on social media after a contentious meeting in the bubble.
The Blazers have had an uneven start to the season and are going to need even more of Big Game Dame to stay in the playoff hunt after a string of significant injuries. But if you ask us, the pettiness on display here is already worthy of the MVP.