You’d have to be quite naïve to believe that NBA players don’t have preferred teams and destinations. Every one of them grew up idolizing a star and dreaming of playing for their hometown team.

Eventually, some of them fulfill their dream of playing for the team they grew up rooting for. But more often than not, that’s just not the case. They act like professionals and sometimes even end up falling in love with a different franchise and fanbase.

That was the case with Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. He grew up attending Warriors games in Oakland and then attended Weber State in Utah before entering the NBA nearly a decade ago.

NBA News: Damian Lillard Says He Feels A Connection With The Warriors And Jazz

That’s what Lillard admits that he always feels a strong connection with both the Warriors and the Jazz. Their fans always show him a lot of love and that’s something you just can’t ignore even if you play for a rival team:

“It’s a special connection. It means a lot to me because it’s similar to when I go home to Oakland and I play against the Golden State Warriors. When they call my name in the starting lineups, the crowd shows me a lot of love and it’s the same when we play against the (Utah) Jazz. They say ‘from Weber State’ and everybody just kind of goes crazy out of love,” Lillard told Heavy.

“It’s a great level of appreciation on my side, because these are the people that had this type of appreciation for me before the rest of the world even knew who I was. I never lose sight of that. I never take that for granted, he added.

Lillard’s future is up in the air and people are uncertain about whether he’ll stay with the Blazers by next season’s end. So, who knows? Maybe we should keep an eye on these teams as his next destination.