He was just responding to Diesel.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is serious about his rap career, and he isn't afraid of anyone who looks to challenge his skills. Off the court and in the booth, Lillard's rap moniker is Dame D.O.L.L.A., and if you ask him to name the greatest rapper in the NBA, it comes to no surprise that he gives himself that honor.
In recent weeks, an unlikely NBA rap beef has been brewing between Lillard and Shaquille O'Neal, a former NBA star who's had quite a successful music career. Lillard recently made a few remarks about Shaq that Diesel didn't appreciate, thus sparking the lyrical back and forth between the two ballers. In an interview with ESPN, Lillard talked all things basketball, but the publication couldn't help but question him about this ongoing bar-for-bar tension with O'Neal.
"I went on Joe Budden's podcast when I was doing a press run for an album I put out this summer," Lillard shared. "He said, 'Who's the best rapper in the NBA?' And I said, me. He said, 'What about Shaq?' I said people view Shaq as Shaq. Not like as a artist. Which wasn't a knock on Shaq, I just think he's a major celebrity, so people looked at it like Shaq is doing music. It wasn't like he's just another artist."
Yet, Lillard suggests his comments weren't meant to be insulting. "I also mentioned that he was the pioneer for athletes doing music and kind of breaking over into that, being commercially successful," he added. "But Shaq was offended by that, so he put a diss track out. So, when he put his out, I just responded. And then after I responded, it was like time in-between and I just put another one out. I put the second one out before he had a response and then he put another one out. It's not like a...I don't got no beef with Shaq or nothing like that. He was the first one to do it and I'm current. So, we shot it out."
Check out Lillard talking about the controversy with Shaq near the end of the ESPN video, along with two diss tracks below.