“If your dreams don’t match your actions, you can either change your dreams or change your actions.”
--A day after hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater that gave the Portland Trail Blazers their first playoff series victory in 14 years, former Weber State star Damian Lillard posted a quote to over 400,000 followers on Twitter: “If what you did yesterday still looks big, then you haven’t done much today.”
Wildcats assistant coach Phil Beckner knew it was coming: “Was waiting for that,” he responded.
Lillard and Beckner spent countless hours running through drills together at the Dee Events Center during Lillard’s college career. For Lillard, that meant listening to countless hours of the Quote Machine.
Beckner has been collecting quotes since his high school playing days, hoarding them as much as you can hoard something you give away at the drop of a hat -- even to the point of irritating the recipient.
“(Damian) used to make fun of me in college,” Beckner said. “He was like, ‘Phil, you can’t just speak in quotes the whole time. Be a human. You’ve actually got to carry on a conversation.’ This summer, when he comes back (to Ogden), he’s like, ‘I know what you’re going to say. I could write a book with all your quotes.’ Even (current Wildcats) like Joel Bolomboy and Richaud Gittens, I tell them the same quotes I told Lillard all the time, or other players -- it wasn’t just Lillard, it was (former Weber State stars) Kellen McCoy (now a WSU assistant with Beckner), it was Scott Bamforth.”
Sometimes quotes are just words, but sometimes they light a fire inside a player.
During his final season at Weber State, Lillard was worn out. He was scheduled to shoot with Beckner after practice as always, but he was tired and wanted to rest for the next day’s game.
“I’d always talk to him about the pain of discipline or the pain of regret -- the pain of regret hurts so much more. You don’t want to live your life with the pain of regret,” Beckner said.
“I knew he needed to shoot, I wanted him to shoot, that’s what’s going to make his ball keep going in, sticking with the routine. The pain of discipline -- being disciplined enough to shoot even though your legs are tired -- or the pain of regret; maybe you miss a whole bunch of shots tomorrow.”
Angry, Beckner left Lillard and walked all the way up the stairs at the Dee Events Center, then turned around and walked all the way back down.
“I said, ‘Dame, do you know why most people fail?’ He goes, ‘Why, Phil?’ I said -- here’s the quote -- ‘People fail because they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.’ He looked at me and he goes, ‘Good one. Let’s shoot.’
“It made him get up off that chair and shoot. He knew he wanted to be an NBA player, he knew he wanted to win a conference championship, he knew he wanted to be the best point guard in the country and he was about to fail because he traded what he wanted most for what he wanted at the moment.”