The top pick of the 2012 NBA draft, Anthony Davis has not disappointed in living up to his high billing. The seven-time All-Star is one of the NBA’s best defenders and all-around big men no matter what team he is on.
Here are 10 things to know about the Los Angeles Lakers forward/center and his path to the NBA:
Bubble suite sweetness: Apparently, Davis’ room at the NBA season restart bubble of 2020 is the spot for fellowship, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Lakers teammates have congregated in Davis’ room at Walt Disney World for a variety of reasons, most notably, his reputation as the team techie. The Lakers even hit up Davis’ room to watch “Verzuz” battles featuring Snoop Dogg and DMX, as well as 2Chainz and Rick Ross. “LeBron [James] is a big Snoop Dogg fan and actually a big DMX fan, and so my room made sense,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “It started with that and then we just kept it going from there.”
Scoring machine: We know about Davis’ lockdown defense (he led the NBA in blocks per game in 2013-14, ’14-15, ’17-18) and his record for the most points in an All-Star Game (52, which took place in 2017 and broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record). But people tend to forget that the season before that, Davis, at 22 years old, became the youngest player to score 59 points in a game. In a 111-106 road win over the Pistons on Feb. 21, 2016, Davis hit 24 of 34 from the floor and 2 of 2 from deep in addition to grabbing 20 rebounds. Through three quarters, he’d racked up 40 points and 15 rebounds. The 59 points still stands as a career high for Davis, who has scored 50 points, 53 and 55 since then. In 2017, Davis became the first Pelicans player to reach 2,000 points in a season. In November 2018, Davis reached 10,000 career points to become the eighth-youngest player (25 years and 255 days) to hit that milestone.
Court builder: Davis’ unlikely rise took root at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, which has an enrollment of about 200 and does not have a basketball court. The team practiced at a church and a middle school cafeteria, but Davis remedied that situation as a 20-year-old going into his second NBA season. In partnership with Boost Mobile, Davis donated $65,000 to help his alma mater build a new court. Davis followed up by donating nearly 100 pair of Nike Air Audacity in 2015 to be used by the boys’ and girls’ hoops teams at PCS.
A playoff performer: In the playoffs for just the third time in his career, and his first time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis has performed when the stakes are highest. In his first playoff series in 2015, Davis averaged 31.5 ppg and 11 rpg as the Pelicans were swept by Golden State. However, he also become the first player in 40 years to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a player’s first postseason series.
Nicknames galore: We often associate Davis with the nicknames “AD,” “The Brow” or some variation of that stemming from his pronounced unibrow. (Davis even trademarked “Fear the Brow.”) But from childhood, nearly all the way through high school, Davis’ family called him “Fat Man” because the star forward was a fat baby. During Davis’ time at Kentucky, coach John Calipari started calling him “Spider-Man” because of his long limbs.
Bond with Kobe: After leaving Kentucky, Davis became the youngest member of the gold-medal winning 2012 U.S. Olympic team, and quickly formed a bond with Lakers great and 2012 Olympic teammate Kobe Bryant. Davis spent much of his time with Bryant during their time together in London. “Anthony was different just because of his curiosity about the game itself,” Bryant said, according to the Los Angeles Times. Davis has said that Serena Williams is his favorite tennis player, and interestingly, he soaked in a conversation between Bryant and the tennis star. “I think he was there when me and Serena had a nice conversation about work ethic and competition, and how she processes competitiveness and rivals and all that,” Bryant said, per the Los Angeles Times. “Sort of comparing notes. He was just sitting there watching.” Davis also got a tattoo in honor of Bryant.
Dream comes true … twice: Anthony Davis called it a “dream come true” to grace the cover of the popular video game NBA 2K, but he’s actually accomplished that feat twice in his career. Davis was featured on the cover of NBA 2K16, then again on NBA 2K20. “Any time you’re young, and especially as a basketball player, you want to be on the cover of 2K,” Davis said. “And for me to do it twice, it’s a blessing.”
Business booming off the court: Davis filmed scenes in 2019 for “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring teammate LeBron James in the Looney Tunes sequel that first featured Michael Jordan. But he’s also partnered with Ruffles for his own Lime and Jalapeno potato chips, which Davis personally taste-tested before release. Davis also works with Beats Electronics, Nike, ExxonMobil and First Entertainment Credit Union, with whom he teamed with to launch a financial literacy program.
Loyal to the soil: Davis once called his hometown of Chicago “the Mecca of basketball”, and he’s since doubled down on that assertion, which is backed by several of his peers. According to many Chicagoans playing in the NBA, toughness is the tie that bonds them. “You’ve got to be really, really tough to make it out of there,” Timberwolves forward Evan Turner told NBA.com. “You hear about the pros, but there are so many people that didn’t make it that are killing elsewhere that went on and became legends at certain universities or overseas. That type of toughness is second to none. When you feel like you can make it in Chicago, you can play anywhere.”
Winning matters most: Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019, opting against signing a lucrative super-max extension, while making it crystal clear that money had little to do with his motivations. “I want to have a legacy,” Davis told Yahoo Sports in 2018. “All my people that look up to me, younger kids, I want them to know about AD’s legacy. Championships, the things I do in the community, being a good teammate, playing hard. All that stuff matters the most to me. Don’t get me wrong, money is amazing. But I think in that sense, money or legacy, I think my legacy will win that battle every time.”