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How LeBron James, Derrick Rose inspired Anthony Davis

Lakers, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis

As part of a recent interview with The Athletic, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis pointed to LeBron James and Derrick Rose as players he looked up to in the early days of his playing career.

Davis and Rose are both from the city of Chicago, so there is a natural connection there. However, AD also looked to another player for inspiration in high school — a player that would one day be his Lakers teammate.

“It’s funny that now we’re teammates,” Davis said in his discussion with The Athletic, referring to LeBron James. “We talk about it all the time, how I was going to his camps wearing his shoes, wanting to meet him, when I was younger in high school. Now I have the opportunity to play alongside him.”

Though he’s 6-8 and listed as a small forward, James is often the player bringing the ball up the court on offense. Davis knows a thing or two about playing point guard as well, despite the fact that he is now 6-10.

Davis played quite a bit of point guard in high school, but an eight inch growth spurt between his sophomore and senior years determined his position on the court. Still, he maintained his ball-handling skills — a trait that has carried over to his NBA career.

“I was able to follow him and make sure that I try to figure out the things that he’s doing. A 6-8 guy who’s very strong, he’s able to pass, shoot, dribble, and it was the same thing I wanted to do,” the Lakers big said. “Bringing the ball up, point forward. I had to do the same thing in high school. I had to go buy his shoes. I kind of wear 23 because of him. That’s a long story behind that but he was the guy I was kind of always watching like, ‘I want to be like him.’”

When asked about the players he watched most growing up, Davis pointed to Rose and his hometown Bulls, as well as James, who is one of the last players that came directly out of high school into the NBA.

“All mine was LeBron and D-Rose,” Davis said of the players he chased. “D-Rose, being in Chicago, the Bulls games was always on, even if you had cable or not. So I was always able to watch him. When he went to college and able to get to the league and what he’s done for the game, and what he’s done for the city. It was a combination of both of those guys. I wasn’t on the scene, so I wasn’t watching any of those [players in his high school class].”

So far, the Lakers’ pairing of Davis and James has paid off in a big way, as the team has racked up a Western Conference-best 49-14 overall record this season. Furthermore, Los Angeles clinched its first playoff berth since 2013 with a recent win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, though, the 2019-20 campaign has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point, it’s not clear when play might resume, though some owners around the NBA are hoping to pick things up later this year.