9. Damian Lillard – Basketball / Automatonophobia / Career Earnings: $6.2 Million
2013 NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA Skills Challenge champion Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers is undoubtedly a rising superstar. Lillard’s biggest fans must dream of a statue being one day erected in his honour, just like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson before him. But Lillard would probably be freaked out by the idea; he has automatonophobia – the fear of lifelike representations of people. Those representations may include ventriloquist dummies and realistic sculptures among others, but in Lillard’s case, he’s especially afraid of statues.
In an interview, he explained that he believes his phobia started after a visit to a wax museum two summers before his senior season at Weber State:
The last room was Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln — all these big-time historic people, and it looked just like them. Same size. They had music playing in the room to set the mood, and it just threw me off.
But how did that fear of wax figures transform into a fear of statues?
Ever since then, I’ve been done. Even at Lake Oswego, I drive past the cemetery, and there’s a statue of Jesus with his hands up. That even scared me. I don’t mess with statues no more. It’s the idea that they’re from so far back, and so big in our history. Just to see something that looks so close to them, it’s weird. It freaks me out.
Strange? Yes. But with Lillard being paid $3.2 million to play with the Trailblazers this season, he can probably afford to be a little bit weird.