Millionaire Damian Lillard doesn’t need a college degree, but that didn’t stop him from graduating and fulfilling a promise to his mother. Lillard left Weber State after his junior year to enlist his tremendous basketball skills in the NBA and he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard has made at least $3,065,040 since he arrived in the league in 2012 and set to make $5,651,205 next year, not to mention the tens of millions per season he is set to make when he becomes a free agent and likely demand a max contract, Despite all of that money, the motivated young man has continued to go to school during his career to earn a degree. The dedication to graduate was fueled by a pledge he made to his mother, Gina Houston, to earn a college degree. Well that day came and the NBA baller gave an inspirational speech at his graduation.
Two days after getting ousted from the first round of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies, Lillard graduated with a degree in professional sales and spoke about what was on his mind:
“Two-and-a-half nights ago, I was in Memphis, Tennessee. My team was facing elimination in an NBA playoff game, and I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking to myself, “I’m not ready to go home. I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” It was 5 a.m., light was coming out and I said “You know what, I could start thinking of what I’m going to say for my speech in case we lose.’”
He credited Weber State for the lessons that have helped him in his life, “As I finished my junior year and opted to enter the NBA Draft early, I knew it would be hard to accomplish the goal I had set. I’m so thankful that WSU and its faculty were able to work with me and help guide me along the way to graduation. “It has always been my goal to complete my degree … Receiving my degree will be an extremely proud moment for me and my family. It’s one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.”
Lillard’s tremendous speech begins at the 1:55 mark.