Damian Lillard’s time to be recognized is long overdue. It’s finally arrived.

Recognition is a fickle thing. Sometimes it’s given freely; other times it’s withheld without good reason. In the case of Portland Trail Blazers’ point guard Damian Lillard, his time to be fully recognized has finally arrived. Very late, but it has arrived nonetheless.

Lillard’s been in the league since 2012, and while he’s been recognized as a premier player, it seems that he’s always been overshadowed in the Western Conference by higher-profile point guards like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. But that’s finally starting to change, thanks to his series-clinching buzzer-beater on Monday night.

Speaking of Russell Westbrook, it seems that Lillard’s feud with the Oklahoma City point guard motivated him to outperform the only man ever to average a triple-double for three consecutive seasons. Throughout the series, Lillard made himself the main talking point with his hard-nosed play and no-nonsense attitude, unlike Westbrook and his teammate Paul George, whose trash talk seemed to motivate Lillard to defy all expectations.

Now is the time for all the media outlets who write about pro basketball to give Damian Lillard the recognition that he deserves: no longer as an afterthought, but as a Top 10 player in the league. Making this happen is crucial for their credibility, considering that fans have already known about Lillard’s exploits for years. Continuing to avoid giving Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers their props will end up alienating fans.

Thankfully, it seems that these media outlets are finally listening, as Damian Lillard’s series-winning buzzer-beater from 37 feet away has made the rounds and it seems like the NBA’s worst kept secret will no longer be a secret anymore.

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