Trail Mix: CJ McCollum launches “Press Pass” journalism program, new D Lillard 2 available Thursday

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum’s career as a journalist, which he already does in his spare time, added another chapter to his already bright career in the industry. On Wednesday, McCollum had the first meeting of “CJ’s Press Pass,” a journalism program that he’s launching for Portland area high school students.

The first school McCollum has visited is Madison High School, where he met with the school’s journalism club. He posted a photo of his visit on his public Facebook page.

“They’re going to be invited to the game against Minnesota this Sunday,” McCollum said after the Blazers went through a light recovery practice on Wednesday. “They’ll be coming out this Sunday and get a tour. They’ll get press passes from me. Give them all notebooks and stuff. They’ll be able to go around and see what it’s like to be a media member for a day. Press conference and then afterwards the assignment is to write an article, do a video. Then they have to submit it to me and our staff and we’ll go over it. “

For McCollum, it’s about giving high school kids an experience that he never had.

“A lot of people don’t figure out what they want to do until they get older,” McCollum said.  “I was in the business school and then switched to journalism. So people have a chance to figure themselves out but I figured I would give people an opportunity to figure themselves out. Not just being a journalism person.”

In addition to the written or video assignment, members of the club will get a tour of the iHeartRadio studios in Portland. After McCollum and his staff go over the assignments, they will then choose a winner for the contest who will then get to join McCollum in studio for a segment on his Friday night radio show “Playlist” on Jammin’ 107.5 FM in Portland.

“If you don’t like to write you can do video. If you don’t want to talk on camera you can do radio. You can record it. It gives them 3 elements, that’s what journalism is like. Tweeting. You have to do different stuff to succeed,” McCollum said.

D Lillard 2 “Aurora Borealis” shoe to release 

After a very brief delay, the nationwide release of the newest edition of Damian Lillard’s adidas D Lillard 2 signature shoe is coming on Thursday Jan. 28 with the release of the “Aurora Borealis” colorway.

The shoe is supposed to be a nod to this year’s NBA All-Star game being played in Toronto. Coincidentally or not, we’ll find out tomorrow around 4 p.m. pacific time whether Lillard was added to the Western Conference All-Stars as a reserve.

Light day

As we stated above, the Blazers had a recovery day on Wednesday following their win over Sacramento. They’re taking advantage of being home for the next few weeks before they have a brutal March where they’re away from home for most of the month.  Damian Lillard, who will likely be dealing with plantar fasciitis for the whole season, is enjoying it quite a bit.

“It’s been great,” Lillard said. “Especially so I can rest my foot. Not having back to back games and having days in between. Being at home sleeping in our own beds. Going to to the practice facility to get our work in and getting to go home. I think it’s been great for us. And also having a favorable schedule and games that we can win.”

Vonleh finding his way

Before getting to his play on the court, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian wrote a touching piece on Noah Vonleh and the very personal story of his cousin who passed away and is the reason that Vonleh wears No. 21, which you should read.

Vonleh has been coming out of his shell more and more on the court, too.

“I’m definitely being more confident and looking for my shot more. Teams have been locking into Damian and CJ trying to stop them. If they take them out they basically feel like they can win the game. I feel like I’m one of those guys. I have to take those shots when they’re there.”

Vonleh also came up when I did my weekly hit on Dusty and Cam on 1080 AM The Fan in Portland on Wednesday morning, where I discussed why I think he has some Draymond Green in his game. Vonleh said that Lillard got on his case for not shooting when he’s open.

“Damian was the one that always tells me to shoot,” Vonleh said.  “He says ‘your whole game can open up, you can drive and do so many other things. If you don’t shoot, they’ll play off you and make things tougher for the team.”


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

Scroll to top