Like many that have come before him, Anthony Davis wants to be considered great.
Well, most believe his career has started on the right track. He already compares favorably to two of the all-time greats at his position, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Avid fans and experts alike are in agreement that he possesses extraordinary talent, and players of his ilk come along perhaps once in a generation.
"He’s going to revolutionize the game," one says. "We’ve never seen anything like him," another offers. When asked the time honored question: Who would you take to start a franchise, a third responds, "You mean, besides Anthony Davis?"
In 1996, the National Basketball Association compiled a list of the 50 greatest NBA players in history to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the league. Only nine of the selected names failed to win a championship during their careers, which included such famous icons like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing and Pete Maravich.
However, even as great as these players were, they have never been considered top 10 material. History mandates the elite of the elite possess the validating hardware. For instance, Fox Sports recently picked Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan as the ten greatest legends to grace the game.
It's difficult to argue with their list or any other legitimate top ten list. This aforementioned group has collectively amassed 48 championships with each player winning 3 or more rings except for the Big O (1) and Wilt the Stilt (2).
Most likely, we can expect LeBron James to soon join this list and make inclusion even that much more difficult.
As Davis recently told The Advocate, he fondly recalls his lone season in Kentucky because he left a winner. In 2012, he propelled the Wildcats to their most recent championship. In turn, Lexington now treats him like a superstar, and he'll probably be revered on their streets for decades.
AD believes that in order to achieve a similar result in the NBA, his professional greatness will be determined by winning too.
"Winning kind of — I don’t want to say it defines greatness, but it’s, like, 80 percent of it," Davis said. "At the end of the day, I want to win a ring — multiple rings — and I think that helps you if they do have a debate whether you’re great or not."
At 22 years of age, it's hard to fault his logic. The crème de la crème before him have won multiple NBA trophies. If Davis really wants to be a part of this conversation someday, he is simply going to have to follow suit.