Blazers guard Damian Lillard
won the 2013 Rookie of the Year. (Sam Forencich/Getty Images)
Two brothers are alleging that associates of Damian Lillard beat them up early Saturday morning in a dispute over a photograph.
KGW.com reports that the two men, who have been identified as Jermaine and Phil Ulinwa, claim that the 2013 Rookie of the Year took exception to having his photograph taken and that served as the trigger point of a fight.
One brother told KGW the beating happened as a result of a picture that he snapped with his cell phone after he spotted the basketball star walking toward a parking lot with several other people.
"And his entourage just turned around too and they're like ‘Did you just take a picture of Damian Lillard?' And I was like ... 'Yeah, I did.' And so I saw that he was clearly upset, they were upset and I was like, 'Can I apologize to him? Like I'll go up right now and apologize to him,'" the brother said.
Within minutes, he says the discussion became an all-out fight which did not involve Lillard but did involve others that the brothers believe were part of Lillard's group. When the second brother stepped in to help his brother, he says he was punched and kicked repeatedly, enough to break his nose and require stitches in his lip.
A Portland Police spokesman has confirmed that the incident is being investigated but stated Monday that the Blazers guard is not a suspect and that it has not yet been determined whether the suspects "are or are not" associated with Lillard, according to The Oregonian.
The Blazers issued a statement to KOIN, who also reported further details of the late-night incident.
The incident reportedly occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the area of Northwest 4th Avenue and Davis Street.
“We are aware of the alleged incident,” the Blazers said in a brief statement Monday. “Based on preliminary reports, none of our players is considered a suspect in this case.”
Portland police detectives are continuing to investigate. No charges have been filed.
Aaron Goodwin, Lillard's agent, issued a statement to The Oregonian.
Aaron Goodwin, the agent for Lillard, said Lillard was "not involved" in the incident.
Lillard, 22, was the unanimous 2013 Rookie of the Year and a unanimous selection to the 2013 All-Rookie First Team. He was also named the NBA's Community Assist Award winner for March in recognition of his "Respect Pledge" anti-bullying campaign.
"It’s an honor to receive this award and I hope that it will bring even more attention to the Respect campaign,” Lillard said in a statement. "I’ve seen too many of the negative effects that bullying has on people, especially kids. Now that I’ve learned how many people look up to us as NBA players, I want to make the most of it by getting behind positive initiatives like anti-bullying."
Lillard is expected to represent the Blazers at the 2013 NBA draft lottery drawing on Tuesday.