11/30/2012 11:04 am ET Updated Jan 30, 2013

Damian Lillard Is Afraid Of Statues: Portland Trail Blazers Rookie Explains Unusual Phobia

Portland point guard Damian Lillard might be the current frontrunner to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. But if he goes on to have an illustrious professional career he might not want to be honored as hoops icons like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

Before the Trail Blazers fell to the Wizards in Washington, D.C., Lillard tweeted his impressions of our nation's capital and let the world in on one of his eccentricities -- a fear of historical statues.

When fans reacted with understandable bewilderment, Lillard clarified his phobia:

It appears that Lillard suffers from automatonophobia, a fear of inanimate objects that resemble humans such as ventriloquist dummies, wax figures, and, yes, statues.

Lillard further explained this unusual hangup to USA Today, stating that while he's unable to pinpoint the exact source of the phobia, he can trace it to at least two years ago, when he visited a wax museum that made him uncomfortable.

"Ever since then, I'm done," he said. "Even at Lake Oswego (near Portland), 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."

The issue seems to be with specifically historical statues resembling real figures and iconic images. Lillard described feeling uneasy when he saw the Lincoln Memorial while driving through D.C., saying that it reminded him of the president's assassination.

"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."

Since explaining his fear of statues, however, Lillard has backed off, tweeting his opinion that the story is being overblown:

Whether the media is making too much of Lillard's aversion or not, he isn't the only athlete with a bizarre phobia. Earlier in November, a clip from Showtime's Inside the NFL spotlighted Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry's very real fear of horses, an affliction known as equinophobia.