Last season, Anthony Davis got to experience what it’s like to win an NBA championship. While he didn’t get the full experience of a championship parade, or a championship series in front of fans, he got to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy and shower his teammates with champagne in the locker room. Even “just” that is something most players — past and present — haven’t done, and he did it at the age of 27.
Davis isn’t happy with just the one championship, though. In fact, during an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, Davis said winning one only made him hungrier for another one:
“When we won, obviously I was a meme, crying and things like that, but that was one of the best feelings in the world, for sure, and I want to have that feeling again. And a couple more times. You know, I don’t want to be a one-stop shop, you know, a one-time thing, you know, you won one, I want multiple. And I think that’s the drive behind this season.”
There’s no shame in being a one-time champion. Plenty of legendary players only have one championship to their name, including Jerry West, Moses Malone, Clyde Drexler, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. But while Davis is still playing, he wants to do everything he can to get another one, starting with this season.
And after reloading their roster in the offseason, the Lakers are once again among the favorites to win the title. However, as Davis has quickly found out this season, repeating is much harder than it looks:
“You’re going to get everybody’s best shot. Everybody wants to beat the champions. That’s the toughest part. And now you appreciate, back when we were playing like, man, the Warriors are cheat code, man, these guys, they’re just winning, they added players – but now, you know, as a Champion and you come out this year you really appreciate, like man, those guys, that was tough what they did. That was very tough to come out and repeat.
“Even back when Shaq and Kobe three-peat, it was tough to see what those guys did, especially when you have this target on your back. So, you’re gonna get everybody’s best shot.”
We’ve seen the Lakers struggle with that level of competition a little bit this season, but for the most part, they’ve looked as good as they did last season, if not better in some respects. Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Warriors teams Davis referred to, even went as far as to say the Lakers have found the “sweet spot” that his team did when they went 73-9 during the 2015-16 season.
So, while it may not seem like it all of the time, Davis and the Lakers are clearly as motivated as they were last season. Now, we just have to wait for them to hit their stride.