For perhaps the first time in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers have a real rivalry brewing. While the teams have been good at the same time, the two have never contended for titles at the same time. Because of that, one might assume that the teams would never agree on anything. But when it comes to the Mecca of basketball, Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Lakers star Anthony Davis agree with each other.
Basketball’s Mecca, according to Anthony Davis and Doc Rivers
Basketball Mecca, for some, is Madison Square Garden. For others, it is the streets of New York City, where so many payers first got their start. Rivers and Davis disagree with those people, however. According to them, the Mecca of basketball isn’t anywhere near New York. It’s Chicago.
“In Chicago, it means a lot more to us because we are a basketball city, and we are the Mecca of Basketball, and you can quote me on that,” Davis said at a camp he was putting on during the offseason.
There is some bias from Davis. It is, after all, where he grew up and made his name as a young basketball phenom before college. Fellow Chicago native Doc Rivers won’t argue Davis’ stance.
When asked about Davis’s comments, Rivers voiced his full agreement with Davis’s statement.
“He’s right,” Rivers said. “It’s not even a question. No, I really believe that. The Mecca of basketball is absolutely Chicago players. New York gets all the rub, which I don’t get, but Chicago, it’s not even close. It’s not close.”
Anthony Davis and Doc Rivers are just two of the historically great products of Chicago basketball. Rivers explained that Chicago gives basketball players a great chance to grow with each other and challenge each other. They often meet at early ages and play with each other for several years as children. That causes a bond to form that helps drive several players to make it to the NBA.
Rivers, Davis, and the long list of Chicago-bred NBA players
Anthony Davis is an NBA star now. Doc Rivers was one during his prime in the 1980s and 90s. But they’re hardly the only NBA stars to get their start in Chicago.
As we are about to see, the Windy City natives that became professional players includes one Hall of Famer, a recently retired star who’s a Hall of Fame lock, and a record-setting former MVP.
Although Isiah Thomas might best be known for his time in Detroit, he is a Chicago product through and through. When Rivers was talking about the chance to play against others in Chicago, he said that kids who were at the park on the right day could get a chance to play against Thomas when he was still playing basketball professionally.
Dwyane Wade has always been outspoken about his love of his home city. The experiment didn’t work out as well as some may have hoped, but Wade got a year to play in front of his hometown crowd when he signed with the Bulls later in his career. He still gives back to the Chicago community even if he got a new home in Miami when he made it into the NBA.
Derrick Rose might be most deeply ingrained in Chicago basketball lore. The Bulls lucked out when they got the No. 1 pick the year that Rose left college, and he made his name playing his best years in Chicago. The 2008-09 Rookie of the Year became the youngest NBA MVP when he won the award in 2011 at 22 years old.
Rose may not be a journeyman, but when his career is over, his connection with Chicago will likely be what people remember most about his playing career.
Patrick Beverley was annoying the people of Chicago when he was on the come up in the NBA. One of the most sought after energy guys in the NBA, Beverley has a knack for getting under people’s skin, and his Chicago come-up might be what gave him this feisty edge that he has been known for in the NBA.