In a recent interview, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis admitted that his joy for the game of basketball during his final year with the New Orleans Pelicans had reduced so dramatically that he no longer wanted to practice or play.
Preston Ellis of TheBirdWrites.com interviewed Davis about the turmoil surrounding his situation, which included trade rumors and frustration over the Pelicans’ struggles.
Davis noted that his announcement that he wouldn’t sign a contract extension with the team resulted in plenty of vitriol from Pelicans fans.
“I didn’t want to go to practice, I didn’t want to play,” Davis recalled. “There was just a lot going on because I didn’t have that joy with me anymore. Getting into it with the fans, the media, it was just a lot. I wasn’t in a great frame of mind — a great space for me to be joyful.
“Every day was like, ‘Ugh, here’s another day. I can’t wait until the season is over.’ Things like that. You’d see people say, ‘AD, you traitor!’ and I’d think, ‘What? You don’t understand what I’m going through.’ It was all wearing down on me at one time, but I had a great team around me, from my agency to my family to my friends, ‘Nah, forget what they’re saying. You’re doing what’s best for you and your family.’”
A potential trade that would have sent Davis to the Lakers fell through during the 2018-19 campaign, but a deal was ultimately forged in the following offseason and helped set the stage for last season’s championship run.
Davis then signed a massive contract extension prior to the start of the 2020-21 season that will keep him with the Lakers through at least the 2023-24 campaign. That deal has a player option for the 2024-25 season that would pay Davis $43.2 million.
The 13-4 Lakers are currently showing no signs of slipping from being strong contenders for the NBA title this season. As for Davis, he continues to be a crucial contributor to the Lakers’ recent dominance.