We've already given you 28 reasons to love Portland right now. But if you need one more, how about the fact that our two biggest basketball stars are making living with your mom seem cool?
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were already perhaps the most down-to-earth duo in the entire NBA. Neither went to a big college, both finished their educations (in Lillard's case even after he got drafted into the league) and both seem to treat Portland as their adopted hometown, not just the place where they happen to be playing for the time being. One drops in at local hip-hop shows, the other started a high school journalism mentorship program.
And, according to the Wall Street Journal, both members of the Blazers' high-scoring backcourt have moved back in with their mothers.
Or, more accurately, both moved their mothers back in with them. McCollum's mom moved in after he broke his foot prior to his rookie season. Lillard, who grew up in Oakland, missed his family enough while attending college in Utah that he also brought his mother to Portland shortly after signing with the Blazers.
"If I eat and leave my plate on the counter, she'll be like, put your plate in the sink," Lillard told the WSJ. "If the trash is right there, she'll be like, somebody needs to take the trash out. She's still my mom."
Even more adorable? Sometimes, they all get together and watch MMA.
McCollum’s mom didn’t know many people when she moved to Portland. But it turned out there was someone else in the area who had the same schedule: Lillard’s mom. The mothers of the Blazers’ best players are now friends. They hang out without Lillard and McCollum. The four of them also hang out together.
“If there’s a boxing match, or a Ronda Rousey fight, or a big game, I always have something at my house,” Lillard said. “C.J. and his mom will always come.”
The article goes on to posit that part of the reason why the Blazers are exceeding expectations this year—and miraculously battling for a playoff spot—is because the team's two best players have set examples for the rest of the squad.
They attribute the unforeseen season in part to every player being in Portland more than a month before pre-season camp, a rarity in the NBA, which allowed the Blazers all the time they needed to get to know each other.
That’s where Lillard, McCollum and their moms come in. Portland’s best players making their full-time homes in the area meant they were around in the off-season. So their teammates were, too.
“This is where I pay rent,” McCollum said. “This is where the team is and this is where the facilities are available 24 hours. And the weather here is beautiful over the summer.”
Ever since LeBron James returned to Cleveland, a lot has been made of NBA players "going home." But as Lillard and McCollum have proven, when you're making pro-athlete money, it's possible to just bring home to wherever you are.
If only someone would've told LaMarcus that a year ago.