Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has stayed loyal to the team that drafted him, sticking with them through highs and lows.
This is partially due to the friendship he had with former owner Paul Allen, who passed away in October 2018. The two had a very strong relationship; at one point, Lillard even met with Allen specifically to commit long-term to the organization and dismiss the notion that he wanted out.
Lillard opened up to Chris Haynes about the first time he saw the music studio at Allen’s home. He said Allen took him on an outdoor elevator that overlooked Beverly Hills (via Yahoo Sports):
“It was like a mansion of its own. It had bedrooms, kitchen… So we go down there and he had these two fancy, expensive guitars… He showed me the studio. The keyboard was crazy. It was better than any studio I ever recorded in – even after that.”
That is when the Portland star learned that the late team owner played guitar. He mentioned a YouTube video that shows the Microsoft co-founder jamming out on stage.
When Lillard talked about recording his music and making an album, Allen offered the studio to Lillard without any hesitation.
Here is how Lillard described the offseason recording process:
“That summer, I went back and we had to put everybody’s name on a list and all the stuff to see who was going to be coming and all that. It was all set up. He had the engineers, people was going on food runs… I was there 10 days straight. Everyday, all day recording. Artists was coming in, recording. He had upstairs, like a smaller studio, like a B-studio. It was just cool that he let me do that.”
According to Lillard, the late Allen was out of town during the sessions and never got to see the process unfold. He likely could have helped out a bit, considering Allen has played guitar with Ringo Starr from The Beatles and Joe Walsh from The Eagles.
Allen also had a recording studio on his 414-foot yacht, which was used by Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones as well as three-time Grammy-Award winner Damian Marley.
Legendary musician Quincy Jones has compared Allen to Jimi Hendrix and he’s said that Allen once performed with Stevie Wonder on the yacht.