Why Damian Lillard dons jersey No. 0? Exploring ‘Sub Zero’s association with the legendary number

Damian Lillard, one of the best point guards in the NBA, is probably one of the first names popping up in fans’ minds when speaking of ‘0’. Lovingly dubbed, “sub-zero,” his journey with the number 0 has been worth accolades. 

The NBA has allowed players to sport the number ‘0’ on their jerseys for a long time. Over the years it has developed to become a popular choice amongst several top players of the league.

Why Damian Lillard sports number zero?

The Portland Trail Blazers guard is now one of the highest-scoring ballers in the league. Whenever Lillard comes out to play, he is seen sporting the number zero on his jersey. It is widely acknowledged that athletes usually choose a number they are closely associated with. So, what is Lilliard’s bond with zero?

He recently answered this question in an interview with The Oregonian. According to the source, Lillard said that he, “Grew up in Oakland, college in Ogden, and my NBA team is in Oregon.” 

Damian Lillard

 This means that Damian’s number 0 is not actually the number but the letter O, as an homage to all the states he has been associated with throughout his life. 

Notable NBA stars who contributed to the jersey’s status

The number zero trend is not a newcomer to the NBA. Rather, it has been an integral part of several star players’ careers. For instance Russell W has endorsed the number zero jersey for not one but four separate teams. These include the Clippers, Lakers, Thunder, and Rockets. He is famous for the highest number of triple-doubles at 198.

With 0 days left until the regular season, Russell Westbrook (#0)  represents : r/Thunder

Andre Drummond has also been closely tied with zero. He played for the Detroit Pistons with the jersey from 2014-2020 as well as with Brooklyn Nets in 2022.

Agent Zero “Gilbert Arenas” wore a zero on his back since he played for Golden State in 2002-03 and later with Washington from 2004-10. 

Ultimately, it all burns down to what a player feels attached to, and for Damian Lillard it is his relationship with the places he has grown up with.

The Portland guard is definitely not trying to project invincibility by wearing the number 0, saying 0 players are better than him. Instead, it is his way of saluting the states that shaped him. One thing can be said for sure, every player with a jersey 0 has been everything but a zero!

What are your thoughts regarding wearing such a unique jersey number? Do you think it might have some sort of connection with stellar performances? 


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