Anthony Davis gets an education on and off the court
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- In the spring, he won an NCAA title. In the summer, he picked up an Olympic gold medal. So what does 19-year-old Anthony Davis have planned for the fall?
"This is where it all starts," Davis said Tuesday. "I'm excited to start my career and life in the NBA."
The New Orleans Hornets made Davis the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft in June, months after the freshman helped lead the University of Kentucky to a national championship. Davis got some idea of the kind of crazy demands that can be placed on an NBA player Tuesday when he joined 39 fellow members of the NBA's rookie class for a photo shoot for their Panini NBA trading cards.
Everywhere he turned, it seemed there was someone who wanted a piece of the 6-10 forward: He did a life segment with ESPN's SportsCenter, he gave press interviews, he chatted with sponsors and he was repeatedly asked to jump, dribble and shoot as he rotated from photo station to photo station.
Davis believes he has a pretty good idea of what he can expect once he starts his rookie season, thanks to the advice he received from some of the league's biggest superstars when he was their teammate on the U.S. Olympic team. A last-minute addition to the Dream Team, Davis became the youngest American ever to win a gold medal in basketball. Though he averaged only 4.3 points in seven games at the London Olympics, Davis says he learned a lot both on and off the court from his elite teammates.
Take the way he dresses away from the court. One night, when he was meeting his teammates for dinner, Davis showed up in shorts and a T-shirt, only to find that everyone else had dressed up.
"It's not like I didn't have nice casual clothes, I just didn't put them on to just go eat," he said. "Now, I know."
"They talked to me about handling fans and handling money," he said. "I thought it was very helpful advice. I expected to be talking to them about basketball, but it was great they could also talk to me about life off the court."
Once the season starts, Davis knows his opponents won't be as generous with their advice, especially when it comes to life on the court. He said he is most looking forward to going against the league's elite big men, especially Kevin Garnett, whom he grew up idolizing. In fact, he says he has thought a lot about Jan. 16, the date he first gets to play Boston and go head-to-head with Garnett.
"I've never met him, never spoke to him and that's why I'm looking forward to playing him so much," he said. "I watched him starting in Minnesota. He plays with so much intensity. That's who I ultimately want to be like."