Jazz Kessler Got NBA Welcome From Damian Lillard

Oct 7, 2022, 3:27 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm


Utah Jazz Center Walker Kessler (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Walker Kessler got his welcome to the NBA moment courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard earlier this week.

The Jazz rookie got switched on to Lillard on the perimeter during their preseason matchup on Tuesday and despite Kessler’s best defensive efforts, the former Weber State Wildcat hit a patented step-back three over the seven-footer’s outstretched arm.

“Dame is a heck of a shooter, I’m not going lie,” Kessler said. “When Dame hit that one step back on me, I couldn’t help but smile. That’s crazy.”

Kessler has had a promising start to his NBA career earning the trust of the new Jazz coaching staff as the primary backup center during the preseason and wasn’t deterred by Lillard’s hot shooting.

“I feel like that was good defense, it was a good contest having to switch out that last moment and make that late contest,” Kessler said. “He’s a heck of a shooter.”

While Lillard may have given Kessler one of his earliest “welcome to the NBA” moments, it was also a full circle experience for the Jazz center.

“I grew up watching Dame,” Kessler admitted. “I’ve got a pair of shoes in my closet.”

Kessler and Will Hardy Are Not The Same Person

One of the ongoing curiosities early during the Jazz preseason has been the subtle resemblance between Kessler and head coach Will Hardy.

Kessler acknowledged the resemblance at media, saying Hardy should be honored that the two look alike.

Hardy had been pressed on the issue but seemed a bit reticent to play along. That is however until the Jazz coach chose to dispel the rumor that nobody had ever seen he and Kessler in the same room at the same time.

During Kessler’s post-practice media session, Hardy joined the meeting to reveal that the two are in fact, different people.

Fans will get an opportunity to see the two in the same building for the first time in person when the Jazz host an open scrimmage on Saturday at Vivint Arena.

Doors open for the event at 10:30 am while those not in attendance can watch the game at utahjazz.com

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Matt Harpring...

Chandler Holt

Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #29 Matt Harpring

The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players is officially underway, and coming in at number 29 is forward Matt Harpring.

9 months ago


Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes: Which Jazzmen Are Ranked As Top 100 Players In NBA?

The NBA is as talented as it has ever been. Considering this, which Jazz players are ranked as top 100 in the league?

9 months ago

Dominique Wilkens and Tyrone Corbin of the Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #30 Tyrone Corbin

The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players is officially underway, and coming in at number 30 is forward Tyrone Corbin.

9 months ago

Paul George #13 and Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers...

Ben Anderson

Report: NBA Board To Vote On Rule Change For Load Management

The NBA Board of Governors plans to vote this week on how to address the growing problem of load management during the regular season. 

9 months ago

Antoine Carr goes high and slams home a rebound from a teammate's missed shot....

Ben Anderson

Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #31 Antoine Carr

The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players is officially underway, and coming in at number 31 is forward Antoine Carr.

9 months ago

Walker Kessler #14 of the United States vies for the ball against Dwight Powell #7 and Dillon Brook...

Ben Anderson

Olynyk Tops Kessler, Canada Beats Team USA For Bronze

Kelly Olynyk and Team Canada topped Walker Kessler and Team USA to earn the bronze medal at the FIBA World Cup. 

9 months ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

Jazz Kessler Got NBA Welcome From Damian Lillard