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John Calipari Praises Damian Lillard's Comments About Young Players' Entitlement

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 6, 2022

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Consider John Calipari a Damian Lillard fan.

The Kentucky men's basketball coach praised the message the Portland Trail Blazers superstar passed along during his Formula Zero basketball camp this past week.

John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari

This is about earning your way, creating your own space, learning to fight and - as <a href="https://twitter.com/Dame_Lillard?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Dame_Lillard</a> said - being “sturdy” through the ups and downs.<br><br>I hope every player who leaves our program has a toolbox to be successful in the next chapters of their lives, including the NBA.

Lillard's message was that he wants to help young players develop mental toughness and work ethic, especially in an age where they are praised their entire lives, recruited as top and gifted prospects and have large social media followings but may not be ready for the potential adversity that awaits them at the college or professional level.

"It puts them in a position to where those things, it lets them down when they get to a professional environment and their talent can't get them though," he said at the camp. "You got to be stable and strong mentally. You got to be sturdy. You got to have something that you can stand on because it gets tough. ... I want to help these kids, they got all these followers on Instagram, but I wanna help them have the stuff that is not just a talent."

At the NBA level, every player has massive talent. Other factors often differentiate the best players from their peers, which is the message Lillard is trying to send to young players and one that Calipari endorses.

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