clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sorry LeBron James, no narrative switch here, but continuing to undermine delicate situation could significantly impact Anthony Davis’ precious legacy

Be careful of the legacy you chase and who you invite to help!

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”— William Shakespeare

There is a grand misconception about the city of New Orleans, the Pelicans and Anthony Davis’ departure. The popular thought appears to be that both the franchise and the city are “salty” about the seven year superstar’s request for a new home. Some have taken it a step further and believe that the Pelicans are so upset about Davis wanting out that they will sabotage everything they possibly can around him.

Honestly, I don’t mind these lazy narratives if you’re uninformed because the average person expects a lot of spite on all sides when a superstar seeks greener pastures. However, if we can be real for a moment, the following expression must be noted in accurately describing AD’s saga: it’s not you leaving, it’s how you left.

Davis’ ever-growing circus departure will be featured on the LeBron James and Maverick Carter celebrity platform creation “The Shop” tonight on HBO.

In a vacuum, this show is actually really good and has some brilliant intentions. It allows players and entertainers to speak in an open environment candidly, in ways the average observer would never be able to view.

For Anthony Davis, one expects this will be his first opportunity to completely let loose — albeit at least a little scripted — and detail his reasons for wanting to go to a new team. Perhaps he will also address the noise surrounding his decision. If the preview of tonight’s show which also features Antonio Brown, Jerrod Carmichael, Jamie Foxx, 2 Chainz, and Meek Mill as guests are on point, Davis won’t be the only one with quotable comments about his imminent relocation.

We have yet to see what else Davis and others will add, but again there already seems to be a disconnect. The thought that the Pelicans are vehemently bitter and seek revenge or that Davis is wholly innocent in all of this is downright ridiculous. The Pelicans organization has always known this day would come if winning ways could not be sustained.

In fact, the narrative long before Davis and agent Rich Paul made the trade request was that the Pelicans were failing the big man so it was time for him to use his leverage and move elsewhere rather than remaining loyal to an organization that failed to build a competitive team around him.

NBA: All Star-Media Day Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

A simple, private conversation between Davis, Paul, and the Pelicans’ front office could have even possibly given Davis his ultimate wish. But once primary destinations, blueprint of original plans, and various leaks of information transpired, the odds of getting a deal done in good faith vanished. The Pelicans felt cornered and decided to do what most do when feeling trapped: they went on the offensive. Even if you don’t agree with all of their responses and the events that soon followed, can you really blame them?

Once Davis’ camp made the trade request, it took the superstar four days — FOUR DAYS — to speak publicly about his sudden demand. After having so much time to ponder things, the most that came from his mouth was that it was “his time”.

In the midst of all of this, rumors and evidence of tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers once again leaked and the pursuit of Davis was wide open to the world. And oh, don’t forget his bad attempts at PR fixing during All-Star weekend which culminated in the following.

Throughout this mess, Davis’ teammates and head coach Alvin Gentry have all been forced to speak about this situation at times while AD was conveniently away from the reach of media and any microphones.

And now we come to the elephant in the room. If Anthony Davis wants to go to a winner, wants to cement a legacy, why has he been so adamant to join the Los Angeles Lakers?

If this is AD’s ultimate goal, he’s in for a rude awakening. The Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs since the 2012-13 season. Also, playing with LeBron James alone brings a spotlight that everybody can’t handle. Add in the city known for it’s bright lights and there will be no longer an occasion that Davis can have others speak for him.

Is he prepared for quadruple the media coverage?

And, oh yeah, don’t forget the constant questions about other teammates, the title expectations from day one, and the serving tool of being the person expected to bring LeBron James his final championship opportunities.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A legacy is based on history, and Davis’ doesn’t speak well to a player thriving under increased pressure. Further, will he have the right people tell him the truth about his shortcomings and weaknesses or will he be surrounded by yes men and self-serving entities only concerned about themselves and their inner circle?

Could Davis, in due time, be hung out to dry?

It’s most interesting that LeBron’s latest comments about the negative press Davis has received lacks the accountability a superstar like James should understand all too well.

As LeBron once left the team that drafted him in 2010, many would have been upset regardless. The loss of a homegrown transcendent player hurts no matter which way you slice it, especially when you consider most of the failures lie with an organization. No, the way in which he left, however, via television broadcast and his ultimate destination of teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade was the real issue.

Athletes deserve the right to do whatever the hell they want when it comes to future destinations. Organizations have for too long been able to control athletes, using them as pawns in a chess game. When one suffers a catastrophic injury or his play suddenly falls off a cliff, heaven forbid he can still find meaningful employment in the league. But this notion should not be used to explain AD’s current situation.

If Davis, who is a notably quiet and reserved individual, would have handled this trade request in an honest manner, many would have been on his side and that “good guy” status wouldn’t have come close to being questioned. The “narrative” would have never changed.

Dating back to December, Davis has said that he wanted people to know about his legacy over anything else, and that’s perfectly fine. He now, however, has his first teaching tool for his mistake. How Davis learns from this will be crucial, because the pressure will only mount in his next destination, while the lessons will create a separate pile of their own.

We create our own legacies. How you value yours doesn’t have to match the next man or woman’s because it’s what makes us all unique in the end.

Despite remaining under contract for more than another year, Davis finally has the control he seeks. But now that he’s made his power move, what he does next — say how he reacts when adversity strikes — will go on to possibly define a career that has so far been rather empty.

For his sake, let’s hope he figures some things out and soon.