NBA

Anthony Davis Admits the Pelicans Made Him Fall Out of Love With Basketball: ‘I Didn’t Have That Joy With Me Anymore’

Anthony Davis has finally found a happy home in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, but his stint with the New Orleans Pelicans actually made him question his love for basketball. After suffering through losing seasons in five of his seven years with the Pelicans, Davis forced his way out of New Orleans because he hated going to work every day.

Thankfully for Davis, he found that love for the sport again with LeBron James in LA. An NBA title will surely help with that.

Anthony Davis struggled through his losing days with the Pelicans

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Growing up, all Anthony Davis knew was winning. He was always the most talented player on every team he played on as a teenager, and he went on to win a national championship at Kentucky in 2012.

But Davis quickly went from the best team in the country to one of the worst a few months later. Davis was drafted by the Pelicans (still the Hornets at the time) No. 1 overall in 2012 after the team went 21-45 the year prior.

Even with Davis in the fold, the Pelicans still finished with a losing record in five of the next seven seasons. Davis spoke to Preston Ellis of The Bird Writes last month about the struggles he went through during that stretch.

When you’re losing, you don’t realize that you’re not happy. You made a ton of money. You can do whatever you want. You can live this lifestyle, quote-unquote ‘The American Dream,’ but losing sucks. I {realized that} I’m not happy. I want to be happy. And you kind of go through these times where it’s like, do I really want to play basketball? Am I really good enough? You start doubting yourself because you’re not happy. Or it might be stuff in your personal life where you’re not happy. Whether it’s in a relationship or family, whatever it may be. I had some of those things where it’s like I’m going through something off the court. I’m not happy and it’s reflecting my game. It starts leading to minor injuries, you’re not playing hard enough, things like that.

Anthony Davis

Things got so bad for Davis in New Orleans that he didn’t even want to play basketball anymore.

Davis couldn’t stand going to work every day

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After it was made clear the Pelicans weren’t going to be able to provide Davis with the resources to win in the NBA, the All-Star big man requested a trade from the team. At that point in time, he couldn’t even stand showing up for work every day.

“I didn’t want to go to practice, I didn’t want to play,” Davis told The Bird Writes. “There was just a lot going on because I didn’t have that joy with me anymore. Getting into it with the fans, the media, it was just a lot. I wasn’t in a great frame of mind — a great space for me to be joyful.

“Every day was like, ‘Ugh, here’s another day. I can’t wait until the season is over.’ Things like that. You’d see people say, ‘AD, you traitor!’ and I’d think, ‘What? You don’t understand what I’m going through.’ It was all wearing down on me at one time, but I had a great team around me, from my agency to my family to my friends, ‘Nah, forget what they’re saying. You’re doing what’s best for you and your family.’”

Anthony Davis found his love of basketball again with the Lakers

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Davis finally got his wish in 2019 when he was traded away from New Orleans to LA. With a change of scenery and a renewed love for the game, Davis led the Lakers to an NBA title in his first season with his new team.

For Davis, winning equals happiness, so don’t expect him to leave LeBron James’ side any time soon.

“I want to enjoy life,” Davis told The Bird Writes. “I want to be happy. No one can live your life. You live your life the way you want to. Now people can help you and direct you in a way that they think is best for you, but at the end of the day, it’s what you want to do. It’s your life. So I have to make changes and decisions that are going to benefit me and make me happy.”