Baron Davis Opens Up About NBA Draft Disappointment in Interview with HoopsHype

Former UCLA Bruins Point Guard Recounts His Experience of Being Passed Over in the 1999 NBA Draft

In an eye-opening conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Baron Davis, the former All-Pac-10 First Team point guard for the UCLA Bruins, recently shared his candid thoughts and emotions about a pivotal moment in his basketball career. Davis delved into the past, reminiscing about the summer of 1999, when he was filled with hope and aspiration, only to experience profound disappointment in the NBA draft.

During that memorable draft, the first two teams selecting players made decisions that would shape the course of their franchises. The University of Maryland’s point guard, Steve Francis, was selected as the second overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies, who would later trade his draft rights to the Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, Elton Brand, a prominent big man, secured the top spot in the draft. Francis went on to achieve great success in the league, earning accolades such as Co-Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star recognition.

Baron Davis, on the other hand, was chosen as the third overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets. His journey in the NBA began with a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Although Davis eventually made a name for himself and earned two All-Star selections during his tenure with the Hornets, his path in the league was marked by a series of changes and relocations.

Notably, Davis’s second All-Star appearance occurred during his time with the franchise that had moved to New Orleans and undergone a rebranding as the New Orleans Hornets, which later became the Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Bobcats had reclaimed the “Hornets” moniker. This dynamic shift in the NBA landscape added a unique twist to Davis’s career, reflecting the ever-evolving nature of the league.

“I talk to Steve Francis about this all the time,” Davis explained. “I thought I was going to go No. 2. I believe the trades happening at No. 2 weren’t going down. I was all up in my agent’s office all the way until the draft, so I kind of knew where everyone was going in the draft.”

In his discussion with Scotto, Baron Davis conveyed the complex emotions he experienced during the 1999 NBA draft. The disappointment of not being selected as one of the top two picks undoubtedly fueled his determination to prove his worth in the league. This interview provides a captivating glimpse into the rollercoaster ride that is the journey of an NBA player, with all its ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks.

“I remember eavesdropping on a call with Arn Tellem, and [then-Hornets head coach] Paul [Silas] was like, ‘Well, f*ck it. He can go overseas. I’m still going to draft him (laughs).’ I was like, ‘I’m not going to be in Charlotte.’ He was like, ‘That’s fine. I’m still drafting your a**. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, but I’m drafting you. If you’re at No. 3, I’m taking you.’ That was one of the best moves of my life. To be coached by Silas and have another father figure and role model. I never saw what that looked like as a father and a coach at that level. It was a blessing to go to the Hornets and live in Charlotte. One of my closest relationships is Senator Marshall Rauch. He turned 100. He was my financial guru. He sat me down and taught me about finances, partners, bonds, and everything you can imagine.”

Baron Davis’s story serves as a reminder that the NBA is not just about the stars who shine from day one but also about the resilience and determination of those who overcome initial setbacks to leave their mark on the game. His interview with HoopsHype sheds light on the human aspect of professional basketball, revealing the emotions and challenges faced by even the most talented players on their path to success.

Gary Lee

Gary Lee, a mainstay at LA Sports Report, is not just a sports writer; he's a veritable institution in the realm of sports journalism. With an extensive and illustrious career that boasts stints with notable platforms like Sports Illustrated, Gary has consistently showcased an uncanny knack for capturing the essence of the game, regardless of the sport. His prowess isn't limited to the written word alone; Gary's vast experience extends to creating and curating sports websites, providing fans with in-depth analysis, up-to-date news, and captivating stories. For readers keen on insights into the Clippers, Dodgers, Galaxy, Kings, LAFC, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, and USC, Gary is your go-to guy.
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