When LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Tuesday night, a ton of discussion in the aftermath had nothing to do with the celebration of the monumental achievement. Instead, a ton of speculation and chatter online had to do with the lack of it, from his Lakers co-star Anthony Davis specifically.
In a cell phone video shot from close to the court and photographs of the aftermath of the moment, Davis appeared sullen and disinterested, even amidst the raucous jubilation from his teammates, James and the entire arena:
Anthony Davis didn’t look very happy for LeBron last night.— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) February 8, 2023
This pic got me in tears pic.twitter.com/xG0IjMlsCp
After the Lakers’ 115-106 loss to the Bucks on Thursday night, Davis was asked about that reaction, and while clearly not pleased with all the speculation or the question, he eventually explained why he didn’t display the same open jubilation as the rest of his teammates (via Dave McMenamin of ESPN):
“It’s about the game,” Davis said after putting up 23 points and 16 rebounds in the Lakers’ 115-106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. “I mean, we’re losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game we needed. And I was pissed off that we were losing. It’s that simple. It’s nothing that has to do with Bron. He knows that. Everybody else is outside looking in, it’s their opinion. But I was pissed off that we were losing the game.”
Here is video of Davis’ response from Kyle Goon (who was the reporter who asked about it to get clarity for fans who were wondering):
For all the internet sleuths out there who were trying to dissect AD’s body language Tuesday as LeBron broke the record, Davis said he was consumed with losing the game and wasn’t aware that LeBron was about to pass Kareem: pic.twitter.com/mkXhPPi8XP— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 10, 2023
Davis later explained the full context of why he looked so despondent in that moment, and said that he even called James to apologize for how it all looked once he saw the reaction (again, via McMenamin):
Davis explained that he had just come back to the bench from a trip to the tunnel to let off some steam and was unaware his timing coincided with James going for history at that very moment.
Davis called James to apologize the next day and then again in person at Crypto.com Arena when the team was holding its walkthrough before the Bucks game.
Davis said that on both occasions, James dismissed his concerns and assured him that he understood Davis was simply caught up in the heat of competition.
So, for those worried, it looks like all this was nothing to panic about. Obviously it was a weird look, and fans who were confused were entitled to that opinion, but Davis has never been the most polished or aware player in terms of his public perception. Considering he’s also been trying to work his way back into game shape from a long injury absence and appeared to be dealing with a minor illness the other night during the loss as well, I think he can be forgiven for being a little bit out of it, even during such a big moment.
Agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, now that we have the full context.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.