A King has returned to his former kingdom. The place that gave him his grounding, granted him the ability to establish dominance and reign over a city yearning for stability and greatness. Anthony Davis returned to the City that turned him into a man and received with a maelstrom of boos. Nothing we didn’t expect.
However, it was still hard to see. Davis returned to New Orleans as a Laker, Months after the hurricane he placed them in when he requested a trade from the beautiful city. We all saw it coming, we just didn’t know when. And now it’s here. Or it came.
Wednesday night Anthony Davis returned to the place that drafted him and put on a spectacle, scoring 41 points adding 9 rebounds and three assists. To top it off, He had the game-deciding steal over Brandon Ingram, a young star who he was traded for, plus other pieces. On the season Davis is averaging 26.1 ppg, 9.0 RPG. And 3.6 aspg according to basketball reference.com
Davis showed the Pelicans what they were seeing for 7 years, what they are going to miss. He reminded a city of what was, all the hard nights he came in and fought for the city and put on shows for the fans. This is the hero’s journey for Davis, this is the chapter where he returns home only to get shunned by his people because their small minds can’t match his bigger dreams.
Wednesday night went as expected in all honesty, Davis came out the gates attempting to prove a point, and he did, scoring 14 points in the first quarter. He was booed every time he touched the ball and that seemed to fuel him. It wasn’t as if he needed to prove anything. It more so was a test to see how he could face adversity. This is the new paradigm for Anthony Davis. Playing for the Pelicans he was in a bubble. A young Star With the mantle of being the best in his position on his shoulders. He balanced that and a New Orleans’ fanbase well. Two playoff appearances, a 5-8 record in those appearances and a display of greatness for 7 years of his young career.
This man gave everything to this city and decided to move on when he knew his time in New Orleans was up. Now He is a Laker, and he has been through another test. Davis is chasing glory that couldn’t be achieved in New Orleans. The Glory of championships and being heralded as a winner and the best player in basketball. New Orleans was too small for the young king. So he moved on to bigger pastures.
His homecoming was one to behold. Leading the now 16-2 lakers to a 114-110 victory over the rebuilding Pelicans. This was accomplished against some of the Laker players Davis was traded for. Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and the Injured Lonzo ball. Ingram and Hart had something to prove last night. Ingram scored 23 on 4 for21 shooting. Hart scored 9 points on 2 for 6 shooting with 5 rebounds. A clear display of trying too hard against his former team for Ingram, Hart posted usual stats for a role player. Nevertheless, Ingram is having a terrific season after coming off that horrific blood clot injury he suffered in March. Davis, on the other hand, weathered the storm and led the lakers in a valiant comeback win against the energetic young Pelicans.
In a night drowning in Emotion for Davis who still has former teammates on the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday, Darius Miller to name a few, Davis showed professionalism and poise as he dominated the game in all facets. Being connected to a franchise for so long one would believe that Davis would have nerves coming into Wednesday’s game. It was circled on his schedule according to Davis in his postgame interview. So, naturally you’ believe He’d feel jitters coming into the night. Nope, not For Davis, he looked like himself, especially from that 41 points.
Just A disclaimer, Anthony Davis isn’t from New Orleans, He is from Chicago, he had a different kind of Homecoming in this game.
Davis’ nerves turned him to LeBron James his teammate for advice, a man who has gone through this type of atmosphere when returning to Cleveland after his trip to Miami. Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported on that conversation on Wednesday. “ I talked to him” LeBron Said. “because I know what it’s like going into a situation where you would call home for seven years. … He’s a kid when he got there, and he became a man along that seven-year journey, so it’s just going to be a different situation for him personally”
Davis was a kid when he was gifted a franchised 7 years ago. He left a man choosing his own destiny. Much to the fanbase of the Pelicans who couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave. However, Davis made a decision for his career. In sports, we become so emotionally attached to a player playing for our cities, we place so much passion into them and expect them to go through walls for us their entire careers as if their legacies don’t matter. Then we place asterisks on their careers if they leave and join forces with other stars because they don’t believe in their front offices to put the necessary talent together to get them over the top. Yes, Professional athletes are entertainers fundamentally. However, they’re also people. They have goals, dreams and wishes too. We have to learn to respect them and appreciate them while they’re here because their careers last only for a short period of time.
Davis gave everything he had to that franchise, He spent 7 long years there attempting to attain the ultimate goal as a professional and didn’t believe they could get it done with him anymore. Just like when we as people work for a job and decide to place our two weeks in because we don’t like the work we’re doing or because there’s no room for upward mobility. We change jobs and positions, why can’t professional athletes?
So for fans to effuse sadness is toxic and harmful as a fan base. Athletes do owe the fans a lot, if it weren’t for them they wouldn’t be in the positions they’re in. However, Davis is still a businessman pursuing his own career goals and he deserved more admiration than what he received on Wednesday night. For the fans to boo Davis in an attempt to coerce him into a poignant state of mind is in a sense, selfish.
Davis asked for a trade, he could’ve stayed in New Orleans and then left in free agency, but he didn’t. He desired to give the fans something to root for, something in return for his services at a fair and equal price. That came in as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart Jaxson Hayes, and Nikeil Alexander-Walker. As well as, Zion Williamon the fresh number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
This was more so the right way about it, plus Davis loves the game so when he requested his trade in February 2019, he stayed professional and tried to play out the rest of the season.
Being booed by the fans is natural, however unwarranted and piss poor professionalism to a player that spent so much fighting for them every night. Yes, certain players should get booed, such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who either left in horrendous ways or were apart of toxic atmospheres that caused cultures of uncertainty.
However, for players that give their all, and understand when it’s time to move on and move on the professional way, They deserve the appraisal and appreciation warranted for their services. Especially when fans were just cheering for them months before, rooting for them and believing in them. It goes to show that they only love you when you’re playing for them, but when you do the human thing and choose your destiny they wish the worst on you. Your loyalty is questioned as if you owe them that amount of loyalty. However, when a GM trades a player to some random location they’re doing it for the betterment of the franchise. This game has had a lack of loyalty for years, shipping players and releasing them in the name of bettering franchises for decades. It’s great that the players are finally taking advantage of their destinies and not allowing GMs to control their trajectories.
Anthony Davis’ homecoming to New Orleans Wednesday was a remembrance of all the negativity swirling around player empowerment.
Players deciding to control their careers is a new problem that is truly a solution that the rest of the world is not used to so they’re rejecting it. We as fans are so used to players playing 13-15 years for a franchise and not winning anything. We were spoiled with certain franchises creating greatness. Not every franchise can properly scout and place teams around players, and it should be normal for them to want to move on when their faith has withered for the franchise. So, Anthony Davis deserved more appreciation from the fans, and he performed Wednesday like he always did for New Orleans.
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