Baron Davis was one of those players that had to be seen to truly be enjoyed. When describing him he just sounded so much like every other tall athletic point guard of the early 2000's. A guard that could dunk and pass, but his jumpshot was a little inconsistent. It just sounds like so many players that have played the position before, and nothing worth getting excited about. Even his numbers seemed kinda normal compared to the Allen Iverson's and Tracy McGrady's of the world. His final year in Charlotte, Davis averaged 16 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the field. Not bad numbers, but nothing incredible.
Then, when you actually watched Davis, there was a realization that he was more than his numbers. That there was more to his game than just another big point guard that could dunk. The way he could excite the crowd felt endless. He was a player where, whenever he had the ball in his hands, you knew that something incredible might happen
Or that he might decide to take over a game.
(Check out the 7:14 mark where he dribbles through the entire Orlando Magic team on a fastbreak. The guy is a cheat code.)
Unfortunately for Charlotte fans, Davis is also a representative of the end of a franchise. There were three years full of highlights, and three straight trips to the playoffs, followed by the franchise being shipped to New Orleans by a crook in an attempt to escape a sex scandal. He alienated fans and caused attendance to drop to some of the worst across the NBA. He, of course, tried to do the same in New Orleans before being deservedly removed by the NBA.
Those three years in Charlotte however were something to behold. In a November 19th matchup against the Detroit Pistons, in 2000, he had a game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and seven steals. He even added a lone block to his tally to make sure really filled up that box score. The best part is that it wasn't even that shocking. He had that kind of ability, and it made him so much more worth watching.
In Davis's final season in Charlotte, he had six games with 30 points or more, 33 games with double digit assists including a season high 17 against Cleveland on March 30th, and eight times he had a game with five steals or more. It's just a shame that all of that talent had to be taken away due to one corrupt team owner.
By the time George Shinn was removed from the NBA, Davis was long gone from New Orleans, becoming something of a journeyman. He was key part of the "We Believe" Golden State Warriors teams, and spent a few years with the Clippers before an injury with the New York Knicks cut his final season in the NBA short. A sad end for an exciting player.
Right now, Davis is talking about an NBA comeback. It's unlikely he succeeds, and honestly there's a little bit of hope that he remains out of the NBA. The player that spent his final season with the Knicks was not the Davis of old. He was clearly aged, and his style of play that excited fans was no longer around. It would be nice for Davis to get one final swan song, but I'd rather him just let us have our memories. The days where it felt like he could do anything with a basketball, and was attempting to keep a franchise relevant as the city rebelled against the team's owner. Those days were some of the best we'll ever get with Davis, and they should be remembered fondly.