Anthony Davis is certainly not setting expectations low for himself prior to his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Davis has already spoken about how he’s focused on winning a title with the team, said he thinks the Lakers could beat any other team in a seven-game series, outlined how he plans to improve his his ballhandling, 3-point shooting and free-throw percentage this offseason while also calling himself the best player in the world.
So... yeah. Davis views himself highly, and he holds himself to a high standard. As a result, it’s not exactly a surprise that he told Sarah Spain on ESPN’s “That’s What She Said” podcast that he doesn’t think his career will be a success without an NBA Championship:
“I don’t think I have a failure that I’ve had yet,” Davis told ESPN as a guest on That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain. “Obviously at the end of my career if I don’t win a championship that would be, I would feel that’s one of my biggest failures. But right now, I still have a lot to do in this world on and off the court.
”So I don’t feel like I’ve failed in anything. I think I just continue to do it over until I succeed at it.”
The latter remark is the right mindset for a player of Davis’ caliber to take. He may not be able to always succeed, but at least he views the times he doesn’t as preparation for the times he does.
And while the “title-or-bust” mentality is less commonly held up as the “right” way to pursue success than it used to be, it’s also hardly a shock that Davis thinks this way. Players don’t get to the level he does by being content with what they’ve achieved. It may not be a reasonable expectation for those of us on the outside, but all of the great players want to be at the pinnacle of the sport every year. That means winning it all.
So will Davis be a failure if he doesn’t win a title? By almost any measure, no. He’s made millions of dollars playing basketball and is almost certain to end up in the Hall of Fame at some point, and has collected countless other accolades leading up to now. By nearly any measure, he’s one of the best basketball players in human history when judging against the totality of the population, and his career arc would be a success in just about any industry.
Still, it’s not surprising Davis wants more than that, and Lakers fans should be excited that he holds himself to such high standards.
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