- Los Angeles Clippers 1999 - present
An American basketball player, Baron Walter Louis Davis was so passionate about football, that he even finished schooling with a basketball scholarship, at a private school in Santa Monica. Davis in his senior year, led his team into the Championship of the Beach Ball Classic tournament, which resulted in MVP honors, as well as a spot on the All-Tournament team. Davis went on to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, as well as a Parade All-American, that same year.
Davis got an opportunity to rub shoulders with future NBA players, Shane Battier, Ron Artest, Elton Brand and Larry Hughes, when he was selected to be a part of the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game. Despite being the smallest in the competition, at 6’2”, Davis won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
Davis was the center of a major recruiting battle, with Georgia Tech, UCLA, Kansas and Duke, all lining up to recruit him. Ultimately Davis chose UCLA, though he was immediately immersed in a scandal involving his sister’s car, which she had bought from a member of Jim Harrick’s family, who was the then-coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team. But eventually the scandal cleared up and Davis joined UCLA in 1997, without incident. Davis went on to bag the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, in 1998, and also earned a spot in the All-American Third Team, in his sophomore year.
During his two years in UCLA, Davis averaged 5.1 assists, and 13.6 points, and even though he suffered an injury during a NCAA Tournament game, he regained form the very next season, and was fit enough to enter the 1999 NBA Draft.
Third pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, Davis was chosen by the Charlotte Hornets, and made his debut against the Orlando Magic, where he scored 9 point, as well as 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. Even though in the first year, Davis backed up David Wesley and Eddie Jones, he started all 82 games in his second year. He was instrumental in the Hornets reaching the second round of the playoffs, for two consecutive years. In the next season, Davis once again started all 82 games, averaging at 18 points per game. He got an opportunity to play in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game, as an injury replacement for Vince Carter.
After the Hornets moved base to New Orleans, Davis continued his impressive performance, taking the Hornets into the playoffs once again, but was constantly plagued by injuries for most of his time in New Orleans. Davis was also a part of the US National team, and participated in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
In 2005, Davis was traded to the Golden State Warriors, in exchange for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis, after reports of tensions between the player and the Hornets coaching staff surfaced. This move resulted in Davis’s return to California, something he has wanted for a long time. The first two seasons with the Warriors were insignificant, and soon coach Mike Montgomery was replaced by former coach, Don Nelson, who came in for the 2006-07 season. Nelson’s scoring offensive system, brought out the best in Davis, who led the team to the playoffs, their first since 1994.
The Warriors went on to win the series, even beating top team Dallas Mavericks 4-2, where Davis averaged 25 points in the series. Even though the Warriors’ ended their winning streak against the Utah Jazz, Davis’s performance in the 2007 NBA Playoffs was highly appreciated by analysts and fans, with some even placing Davis at the top spot in terms of performance in post season. At the end of the 2007-08 season, the Warriors failed to make an impression, following which Davis’s agent, Todd Ramasar, commented that Davis might opt out his $ 17.8 million contract with the Warriors, and study other options. In June, Davis opted out of contract with the Golden State Warriors, confirming a rift between the player and coach Don Nelson.
In July, 2008, Davis, a free agent now, made a verbal commitment to a 5-year, $65 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, which was officially signed a few days later. Despite rumors that Davis signed with the Clippers to play alongside Elton Brand, when the latter did not re-sign his contract with the Clippers, Davis still went ahead with his decision.
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