Damian Lillard was picked sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012. His first NBA contract, for $13 million, made him a billionaire almost immediately. With his newfound wealth, Lillard decided it was time to retire his mother.
At the time, his mother was working in a poisonous atmosphere. He remembered his mother informing him that her health was failing her and that she was juggling an incredibly demanding yet underpaid work with her health condition. Lillard was in his final year of college at Weber State University at the time. He didn’t say anything about his mother’s employment.
“First thing I did, all right, I’m a millionaire now so I went to my mom’s job and was like, ‘Quit,’” Lillard recently told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears for Andscape. “I literally went and helped her pack up her desk, everything. ‘They ain’t been doing you right. They’ve been on your ass about every little thing. We ain’t coming back.’ So that was kind of just my initial thought.”
Lillard described his mother’s retirement as one of the “greatest feelings” he’s ever experienced. He has since relocated much of his family to Portland. He also stated that he has amassed “generational wealth” to support his family for many years to come.
Gina Johnson, Lillard’s mother, stated in a 2014 interview that retiring was a life-changing event for her. She stated that her son’s financial security allowed her to not only leave a toxic job but also receive the medical treatment she required.
“I love the fact that I don’t have to work no more,” Gina Johnson told NBCSports. “I just take the kids to school and handle the bills. Love having my family all together I am truly a blessed individual.”
Gina is no longer concerned about her job stability, nor is she suffering from those health issues. She is preoccupied with being present for her children and grandchildren.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reports that the NBA player is currently under contract for four years and $176 million. He agreed to a two-year, $122 million deal extension with the Blazers. The Insider thinks it is the richest in NBA history. According to the platform, he has already earned $191 million in his career. If he completed his contract, he would have earned half a billion dollars in the NBA.
The NBA star grew up in one of the violent areas in Oakland. According to him, one of the reasons he decided to attend the Utah-based school Weber State was to get out of Oakland.