Anthony Davis enjoyed a rapid rise to the basketball mountain top after joining the Los Angeles Lakers, ending up with the first NBA title of his career.
Alongside LeBron James, he elevated his game and often took charge of happenings on the floor ahead of the acclaimed 35-year-old veteran. Of course, Davis has always been considered a generational talent.
He received a call-up from Team U.S.A. head coach Mike Krzyzewski and joined the stellar lineup of basketball greats which won the Olympic gold medal in 2012 even before making his NBA debut. But while his All-Star status has never been doubted, some wondered whether Davis belonged to the league’s elite and could perform on the biggest stage.
Davis’ performance in the NBA bubble quieted those doubts, and in a unanimous survey conducted by The Athletic, that earned him a second-place finish among players who changed their opinion:
“There were some questions (with Davis). He had never been to the finals, he had never been in a pressure situation and, as we’ve seen with the Clippers when a new team comes together and they get to those big stages, it’s very hard to come together and play well. When Anthony hit the game-winner and hit those back to back 3s, it was, ‘Wow, here’s a guy who’s on a big stage for the first time and he’s not even a 3-point shooter like that and he hit back to back 3s to win the game.’ It said, ‘Okay, maybe this guy is an alpha superstar who didn’t have the tools around him to be that.’ … It changes the ceiling and the runway for this Lakers team. Maybe when LeBron slows down Anthony can take over and be the best player in the world.”
The Athletic’s system gave one vote if a player was mentioned alone, and a half-point if they were part of a broader response. Davis garnered 1.5 votes, while the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray and Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler tied for first with four each.
Davis averaged 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, forming a formidable partnership together with James, reminiscent of the former Lakers duo Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Davis first NBA player to win 4 major basketball trophies
Following his success in his first year in L.A., Davis now is a proven winner and has a unique accolade that can attest to his championship pedigree.
The Lakers All-Star became the first-ever player to win four major basketball trophies: the FIBA Basketball World Cup, NCAA and NBA championships, as well as an Olympic gold medal.
Only eight other players managed to win three of the four competitions, including Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who failed to win the NCAA Tournament.
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