Denton: Davis Talks Camps, Magic & More
By John Denton
August 1, 2012
MORE: BIG BABY EXCITED ABOUT HIRING | MAGIC CAMPS | PHOTOS | VIDEO
ORLANDO – Wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants ravaged by ink from a marker used by his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Amari, Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis dribbled through a line of cones and instructed campers to keep their eyes up as they worked their way up court.
And in the downtime between working with kids’ shots, dribbles and defense at the Glen Davis Orlando Magic basketball camp, Davis regularly sidled up to some of the teenagers and tried to impart some wisdom. After all, Davis said he most likely wouldn’t be in the position that he is today had people not helped him through a difficult childhood when he was growing up in Baton Rouge, La.
``I’m a living testimony for the kid who got a chance because someone lifted a finger and helped them out. This is the least that I can do for these kids because somebody paved the way for me,’’ said Davis, whose parents were in and out of the picture at various times throughout his childhood. ``Me being in the situation that I am now, I’m trying to pave the way for as many kids as I can.’’
Whereas some athletes make drop-by experiences at camps, Davis has been in attendance at the Magic camp at the Silver Star Recreation Center all four days so far this week. The event was held at one of the dazzling, new Community Centers that the Magic helped to build throughout Orange County as the Amway Center was being constructed.
Davis made a full day of his appearance on Thursday, even bringing along daughter, Amari, who attacked him with a magic marker and drew all over his T-shirt, jogging pants and arms during the lunch break.
Davis’ message to the campers was one sprinkled with basketball tips as well as lessons that can be used in everyday life. Davis told the group that the odds of becoming a professional basketball player are slim, but that the campers can use the things basketball teaches to become successful in a variety of walks of life.
``It’s a beautiful thing doing something like this,’’ Davis said. ``We most definitely try to install some of the things that they need to be successful. We try to let them know that, `Hey, you might not become a basketball player. You might be a lawyer or a doctor or another influential person in the world and there’s a way of going about to get there.’ Basketball can teach them things like teamwork, focus and discipline – things that you need in life. We’re using the game of basketball to open other doors.’’
Davis attended the introductory press conference for new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who was officially hired on Saturday and introduced to the media, Magic staffers and sponsors on Monday. Davis talked briefly with Vaughn on Monday and had a sit-down session with his new coach earlier this week. Davis is excited about playing for Vaughn because of the 37-year-old coach’s ability to communicate and teach.
``I got to meet him and he’s a wonderful guy. His upside is amazing,’’ Davis gushed. ``Where he’s been in his life and all that he’s accomplished in basketball is high and he’s still young. I called him a thirsty dog because I know that he’s been champing at the bit to get to that (head coaching) level. I’m fortunate to be in a situation to be his first pupil and I’m going to do what I can to make the best of it.’’
Looking trim and in shape, Davis said he’s stuck to his promise to work throughout the summer so that he will be in top shape when training camp opens on Oct. 1. With Ryan Anderson now in New Orleans and Dwight Howard’s status still in question, Davis will almost assuredly open the season in the starting lineup. He thrived in that role late last season and was the Magic’s most consistent performer in the first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. Davis said his goal now is to play that way all of next season.
``I’ve just been working and polishing my game in every fashion,’’ said Davis, who helped the Magic reach the playoffs last season for a sixth straight year – the longest such streak in the Eastern Conference. ``I’m trying to get in shape and be a professional. I have to stop settling for OK. Yes, I can play, but now I have to strive for a level of consistency that I’ve never had before.’’
Davis said he hopes to attend Howard’s kids camp in Orlando on Aug. 12-13 because he wants to show support for his teammate and to say hello. Davis said he’s confident that the Magic can still field a team that will compete for a playoff berth next season even if Howard is dealt away.
``There are ways to do that (to avoid rebuilding). My first year with the Celtics we had young guys like myself, (Rajon) Rondo and (Kendrick Perkins), but we still had a lot of veteran guys,’’ he said. ``The DeVos family still wants to win here in Orlando. They don’t want to win 10 years or two years from now; they want to win now and they are putting us in a position to do that. (Magic GM) Rob (Hennigan) understands that (point guard) Jameer (Nelson) wants to win, J-Rich wants to win and all of the guys want to win here. He knows my experience and what I’ve done in my career and he knows that we still have a solid team.’’
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here