Damian Lillard had a huge night on Saturday when he scored a career-high 59 points, which also broke the Trail Blazers franchise scoring record. The record was previously held by Damon Stoudamire, who scored 54 points back in 2005. Typically, an accomplishment like that would warrant one to keep something from that night, like the game ball. But Lillard wanted to give a nod to Joe Johnson, who also had an achievement:
How classy is @Dame_Lillard? After scoring franchise record 59, he sent game ball to Utah’s Joe Johnson, who scored his 20,000th career pts
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) April 9, 2017
Lillard explained a bit in a postgame interview:
Reporter: “Players said a mark like this, you keep something … I remember Damon [Stoudamire] kept the ball. Did you keep anything from this game as a memento?”
Lillard: “I know I was going to take the game ball, but I think it was Joe Johnson’s 20,000th point. So I told them to give it to him. You know, it’s an accomplishment for him as well. So, you know, I told them just let me get my jersey.”
Lillard’s performance was huge for Portland, bringing the Trail Blazers closer to clinching a spot in the playoffs. But Lillard recognizing Johnson for reaching the 20,000-point milestone, and symbolically implying that it deserved some of the spotlight, is really cool.