Baron Davis and Andy catch up about Davis’s 13-year NBA career, his role with the 2007 “We Believe” Golden State Warriors, his current business ventures in sports and entertainment, community work and his memories of the late Kobe Bryant.
Davis had helped the Warriors (no. 8 seed) defeat the Dallas Mavericks (no.1 seed) in the first round of the 2007 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. This upset was the first and only time a no. 8 seed beat a no.1 seed in a seven game series.
Davis, who was co-team captain at the time, described the upstart Warriors’ mindset:
“Get to the bucket. Get to the bucket. Put pressure on the defense. Because in the playoffs you kind of play a little bit more with an angst and a fear, right? This fear of losing or this fear of wasting a possession. I know now it’s a little different, but back then it was all about possessions and playing a possession game. And so, it was get to the rim, get the best shot, make them play our pace. And me, going into it, I just didn’t feel like there was anyone that could match up against me.”
The Warriors’ legendary run helped establish their fan base in the Golden State and earned them respect throughout the league. The next season, Davis moved to Los Angeles to play for his hometown Clippers. Davis described himself as a Lakers fan growing up but says he “always rooted for the Clippers.”
Davis says his goal was to make sure the Clippers didn’t feel like second-class citizens in a Lakers town:
“[E]arn some respect. And it starts in the city and town. So, you know, for us it was just…for me, it was like man, first get the respect in the city, in L.A. Then make L.A. another destination where you don’t have to play for the Lakers,” Davis said.
Davis grew up in South Central L.A., and played for UCLA before turning pro as the third pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.. Now that he is an established NBA veteran and entrepreneur, one of his goals is to bring opportunity back to the community:
“[I] always want[ed] to bring an opportunity back to the neighborhood because that was the same place that I was fortunate enough to grow up in. So, it was like let’s see what we can do and if we can get more resources available, you know, more opportunities to these kids,” Davis said.
Davis studied film at UCLA and began directing and producing while still playing basketball. He founded his first production company in 2005 and produced the documentary, Crips and Bloods: Made in America in 2008. Since then, he has added many production credits to his name, founded the Black Santa Company, and is working on a series called WTF, Baron Davis.
“There has been content, you know, that has always been a representation of the people who were actually living it and feeling it or in investigative reports. It has always been an outsider’s perspective or third- or fourth-party, kind of a written perspective of what we see from stereotypes,” Davis said. “And I think for me it was just like, well, let’s just go to the people who actually live it. You know, who live it for a living. And really, for me, it was focus on L.A. as a storytelling platform because we know that L.A. content works. You know? L.A. content, L.A. movies, every movie that we grew up on as a culture, the Fridays, the Boys in the Hood, Menace to Society. L.A. has a brand. For me, it was really just taking advantage of L.A. and growing up here and being able to tap into the local resources. But being able to paint that in a Hollywood type picture.”
Davis is focused on learning the business behind pro sports and including diverse perspectives in media. He describes his company, Sports Lifestyle in Culture, SLiC, as “a content studio producing a place where legends live on.” He created the Business Inside the Game (BIG) Power Summit as a platform for entrepreneurs.
“Basically, the Summit is a platform for athletes to talk about companies they are invested in, companies to connect, and for us to really tackle things and have experts sitting on panels talking about everything from social justice to macro and microeconomics to education to voting. Not just a panel about the topic, but kind of really drilling in and bringing in different perspectives of people that can actually come to a resolve,” Davis said. “So, Business Inside the Game is like the study of business of an industry. And what we’ve been doing is really working with brands and big companies to get them responsible for how they treat themselves and also treat the community that supports them.”
Davis is following the current NBA season and describes the NBA bubble as a player’s dream:
“It would be kind of like a basketball dream, basketball heaven just to be able to get away, bubble up, not having a lot of distractions. And everyday, you know, that you have a game or every other day, that’s a cool environment,” said Davis.
Hear Davis’ thoughts on playing for the Hornets when the team moved from Charlotte to New Orleans as well as his memory of the young Kobe Bryant.
Listen to the full Legends Of Sport podcast here. Watch the video of the podcast on the @legendsofsport YouTube channel.