Blazers' Damian Lillard, Oakland Native, Reflects on Oracle Arena Memories

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard grew up in Oakland. He went to Oakland High School.

As a kid, he went to countless Warriors games and used to roam Oracle Arena without much resistance. How do we know that? From Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group:

Nearly 18 years ago, the Oakland native attended Warriors games at Oracle Arena with either his dad, brother or cousins without emptying much of their wallet. At halftime, they enjoyed free food and drinks in the media's work room. Then they breezed through the arena's hallways and collected autographs from any Warriors player they saw.

"I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to be back there," Lillard said, laughing. "But security was so whatever. We literally did the same thing every game."

Back on Nov. 23, Lillard's Blazers lost to the Warriors at Oracle, 125-97. Golden State hosts Portland again Thursday night, which means that unless the Warriors and Blazers face off in the playoffs ... this will be Lillard's final game ever at Oracle.

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The Warriors are moving to San Francisco next season, and many people close to Lillard are not happy about that.

"They're upset," the 2017-18 All-NBA First-Team guard told BANG. "It's one of those things where success comes and you're going to up and move. A lot of the real Warriors fans, a lot of times they can't go to the games. They can't afford it. At that time, we were able to go to the games.

"Nowadays, a really good ticket is way more expensive to do everything. The people who are real Warriors fans aren't able to get into the games."

Lillard is averaging 26.9 points per game this season and is shooting career highs overall (45.0) and from 3-point range (39.8). You know he is going to want to put on a show in front of a bunch of family and friends tonight. The story would come full circle.

"The Warriors are going to San Francisco; it's just crazy to think about it," the three-time All-Star added. "That's such a big part of my childhood."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

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