No hard feelings. Really.
This should be the end of it.
Anthony Davis is an NBA champion.
Winning a world title was one of the few remaining achievements amiss from the historic resume that Davis has produced in his eight-year career.
We know the list:
- 4x First Team All-NBA
- 2x First Team All-Defense
- 2x Second Team All-Defense
- 3x Blocked Shot Leader
- 7x All-Star
- In the top ten among all active players in scoring, rebounding, and blocks per game
- 2nd among active players in Player Efficiency Rating, and currently third all-time
Davis deserved to be a champion. He’s one of the very best players in the NBA, certainly one of the most talented the league has ever seen.
New Orleans Pelicans fans wish that Davis could have won his title while still wearing the red and blue of the home team, but most won’t begrudge him at this moment.
Anyone who reaches the pinnacle of their field, whether it be in athletics, medicine, or art, wants the validation that comes with the hardware. Once someone wins a Nobel Prize, Grammy, or championship, it’s something that cannot be taken away, only debated about its place in history.
That’s where Anthony Davis is now.
We’ll never know if he could have climbed that mountain in New Orleans. The what-ifs will linger in the minds of basketball fans and pundits for decades to come.
What if Pelicans ownership had been as invested in the franchise from the outset as they were during Davis’ final season?
What if Davis had embraced the role of defensive anchor that Monty Williams had outlined for him?
But those are questions best left for bar debates and chat rooms. They don’t matter anymore.
Not after these strange two seasons. It’s time to move on.
Not past hating the Lakers mind you. This is professional sports and the Lakers will always be villains in the eyes of the 29 other teams in the league.
It is time to move past hating Davis the person.
There are definite reasons that make it difficult to do so.
A number of Pelicans fans are still waiting for the acknowledgement that he promised on his way out of New Orleans.
Even now, Davis and his team’s awkward/borderline insulting handling of his trade demand irritates like a kernel of popcorn stuck between your teeth that you just can’t reach.
Those feelings have to be set aside. It has to be over.
At some point his jersey will be hanging in the rafters of the Smoothie King Center, or whatever it’s called at that time.
But no matter how this is spun in years to come, Davis’ trade to Los Angeles ended up being a win for both franchises. It just might not seem obvious at this point in time.
New Orleans got arguably the greatest return package for any player in his prime in NBA history; and has two players who are expected to challenge for seats in the Pelicans’ pantheon in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
Davis got the destination and the validation that he craved.
Turning the page on 2020 is something we’re all more than prepared to do. Anthony Davis will always be part of the Pelicans’ history. Now, it’s time for us to leave him there.
The future is always scary because it is as fraught with uncertainty as it is filled with optimism. But all we can do is look ahead.
No more what-ifs. Time to deal with what is, and prepare for what could be.
That’s how sports, and life, work.
Congrats, AD. No hard feelings.
Here’s to hoping the Pelicans dethrone you and the Lakers next season (and that you never, ever, win another championship).
We can still be a little petty though. That’s okay.