Anthony Davis receiving boos from the crowd in New Orleans is no new development. When he originally made his trade demand, Pelicans fans let him know how they felt about it. He says that experience prepared him for whatever they have in store for him tonight, when he’ll play his first game in The Big Easy as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
At shootaround Wednesday morning, Davis was asked how he thinks the vibe inside Sleep Train Arena will be for the game and he said even if it is hostile, he’ll get it:
Anthony Davis prior to shootaround on his return to New Orleans. “My time here was great and they’re passionate about their team. I understood the boos ... I can (only) control trying to help my team win (tonight).” pic.twitter.com/UpbGA2xoFo— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 27, 2019
Frankly, if Davis wasn’t ready to be booed — even without prior experience — he’d lack the self-awareness necessary to, I don’t know, exist as a human being.
Now, there is a difference between understanding what he’s probably walking into tonight and being fully prepared for it, but that’s just something he’ll have to experience by himself and adapt however necessary. He’ll also have the support of his teammates.
Make no mistake about it, though: There’s going to be quite a bit of vitriol being hurled in his direction. And if you’d like some taste of what the vibe might be tonight, well, here ya go:
Pelicans fans. If you have tickets to tomorrow night’s game, please don’t let this deter you.— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) November 27, 2019
Boo. Boo loudly.
Be the proud, strong fans and citizens of New Orleans. Let your voice be heard. You are not a bad person if you boo at a sporting event.
And here’s the thing: That’s just how fandom goes. It doesn’t matter that Davis demanding a trade rather just leaving in free agency helped set the Pelicans up for the future with pieces like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and roughly 37,000 draft picks moving forward — let alone the impact Davis’ not playing had on the lottery odds that eventually led to New Orleans being able to draft Zion Williamson.
No, to the fans in that arena, all that matters is that Davis ruined their fun for upwards of a year. Hell, once upon a time, Lakers fans booed Kobe Bryant for the exact same reason. Don’t believe me? Well, again, here ya go:
Now, at the end of that game, Bryant received MVP chants because he brought the fun back for those fans, but for that short time, because it looked like he did not want to be a Laker, fans actually showed outward hatred towards him.
Davis will likely be met with plenty of vitriol tonight. How he handles that will be legitimately fascinating. He has shown that, at times, he can be susceptible to floating through a game here and there, so maybe that’s how he’ll respond. The fact that he’s at least this prepared for his reception gives him a chance at meeting fans’ displeasure with a strong performance, though. However it goes, it’ll be an interesting evening in the Big Easy.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. Yell at the author on Twitter @AnthonyIrwinLA.