US basketball

Lillard defends former Blazers teammate after drastic weight gain

Delfin Dioquino
Lillard defends former Blazers teammate after drastic weight gain

OUT OF NBA. Caleb Swanigan did not join the Trail Blazers in the NBA bubble last season and got arrested months after.

Portland Trail Blazers' Twitter page and YaBoyy John NBA's YouTube video screenshot

Former Trail Blazers big man Caleb Swanigan looks almost unrecognizable just a year since he last played in the NBA

Damian Lillard leapt to the defense of his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate Caleb Swanigan, who saw a drastic weight gain just a year after playing his last NBA game.

Swanigan looked almost unrecognizable when he attended a court hearing on Monday, May 17 for his misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge, for which he pleaded guilty.

“[H]e [is] clearly having real-life issues,” Lillard wrote as a comment on an Instagram post showing the past and present photos of Swanigan.

“You don’t know what it is he’s going through to cause a drastic change.”

Before focusing on his basketball career, Swanigan struggled with obesity during his childhood and adolescence.

“I started playing at a high level and seeing other players and realizing that if I did want to play in the NBA, there are no guys who look like how I am right now,” Swanigan said in a Players’ Tribune video.

Drafted by the Blazers in 2017 as the 26th overall pick, the 6-foot-9 big man spent almost two years with the team.

The Blazers traded him to the Sacramento Kings in February 2019 but Swanigan found himself shipped back to Portland in January 2020.

Swanigan saw action for the Blazers for 20 games since rejoining the team before the coronavirus pandemic forced the NBA to put its season on hold.

The 24-year-old opted out of playing in the NBA bubble in July 2020 and he got arrested in Indiana for possession of marijuana in December 2020.

He averaged 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 75 games for the Blazers and the Kings. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.