There’s an interesting profile of Indiana’s Lance Stephenson and former Wolf Ricky Davis over at Grantland that touts Stephenson’s improvement while contrasting his development with Pretty Ricky’s detachment to reality.
And, while it reads like a cautionary tale, it should be difficult for anyone who suffered through watching Davis play for the Wolves to muster any sympathy.
And Ricky is still Ricky.
He bounced from Boston to Minnesota in 2006 before reuniting with Miami in 2007. After Dwyane Wade injured his knee and shoulder, Riley reacquired Davis to pair him with Shaquille O’Neal. “I made the mistake of trading him,” Riley told reporters. “He’s a very talented kid. He was not a problem here. We just needed to move and get bigger players at that time.” Davis’s knee ached by then. But he played on it anyway — he was in a contract year. It’s hard to find a place in the NBA for a jumper who cannot jump. Davis’s outspoken, reckless reputation was secure by then, but the league will overlook anything if you can play. If you can’t, though?
Davis departed Miami for the Clippers. Then he became a global basketball wanderer. But he’s not satisfied with how things ended, or ready to be relegated to the history books like other troubled stars.
“That’s my whole dream now,” he says. “I’m not taking nothing for granted. I still got it. Just seeing where I’m at and how many guys of my talent are out — A.I. [Allen Iverson], Big Dog [Glenn Robinson], the same type of caliber guys — when they did that to them, I don’t know. Certain guys like that, trying to get in. [Latrell] Sprewell — of course he asked for too much money. But for the guys who don’t do nothing wrong, like me — just hurt. Just forgotten. It’s cool to be forgotten because I played like shit the last two years, but I was hurt. So it’s cool. I understand that.”
“I don’t got a DUI, none of that. I might have got in the drug program. But who ain’t did that? But ‘Why?’ is my question. Why can’t I get back in? They don’t look at it like, ‘You’ve almost got 10,000 points.’ I just want that 10,000 points. I’m about 80 points away from 10,000. Is that normal?”
It’s actually difficult to sympathize with his plight even if you’ve never seen him play, actually. I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ to want a 10-day contract to make a points-scored milestone, but it’s a little revealing, perhaps.
That Antoine Walker is one of the only glowing reports of Davis being a good teammate, is also, perhaps, a bit revealing.
Interesting to include Stephenson’s active development in Indiana as a comparison. The cocksure attitude and rocky beginnings of both of their careers paint broad enough similarities to illustrate how Stephenson’s environment force fed him lessons Davis will never learn.