The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard, who’s the NBA’s reigning rookie of the year, caught up with Yahoo! Sports recently to talk about his hometown, Oakland, Calif. Lilliard recently watched Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” and recounted his relationship with the film’s inspiration, Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by a Bay Area transit officer on New Year’s Day in 2009.
“He went to high school and played on the same football team as my brother,” Lillard told Yahoo! Sports. “I used to always be around my brother at the high school and crossed paths with [Grant]. We were on the bus at the same time. We were always in the same areas.”
About the film, Lilliard had this to say:
“You don’t see a lot of movies that are actually based in Oakland and give a chance to see what people are going through there every day,” Lillard said. “It was nerve-wracking to see in the movie how they had everything down pat and how they eventually went through the day in the life of a lot of people, a lot of young men in Oakland.
“At the end it was breathtaking how [Grant] kept saying after he was shot that he had a daughter, you see how friends were [helpless] and see how his family came together. This wasn’t just a movie. This really happened. At that point, I kind of sat in my seat and was like, ‘Wow.’ ”