Your average fan will know Baron Davis for his iconic poster on AK-47. Davis, turning 41 today, may not have lived up to his potential on the court but is exceeding them off the court as a successful Angel Investor and the owner of Baron Davis Enterprises. B-Diddy was drafted in the league in 1999 by the Charlotte Hornets as the 3rd pick and went on to play for six different NBA teams. Davis had his best years while playing with the New Orleans Hornets and the Golden State Warriors, and finished it with the Knicks.
Before his NBA adventure, Davis was playing college-ball for UCLA. He tore his ACL his freshman year during an NCAA tournament game, but made a full recovery the next year and declared for the 1999 NBA draft. Davis made an appearance on ESPN’s His & Hers hosted by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill and shared a story of playing one-on-one with Kobe Bryant during his recovery from the ACL injury, while NBA was on lockout.
“I would say my Kobe story was when I knew I was going to go pro. I hurt my knee at UCLA, and I think it was the NBA lockout, and we were practicing, UCLA, we were practicing, and I couldn’t practice because I was still injured and Kobe Bryant walks into the gym.”Baron Davis, via ESPN
Davis was a few months away from fully recovering from the injury, but couldn’t miss the opportunity to take on one of the league’s rising stars, and he was confident that he could beat him, even though he wasn’t fully healthy.
“He didn’t say nothing to anybody. He just started working out, warming up on the other court. And then, I walked over and like ‘Man, can I rebound for you?’ and he was like ‘Yeah.’ I was like ‘Do you want to play one-on-one?’ because the team was practicing. So me and Kobe we started playing these games of one-on-one, and next thing you know, I look up, and I’m down like 3-0, I look to the sidelines, and the whole team is watching us play one-on-one.”Baron Davis, via ESPN
The battle went on for 6 games, finishing 4-2 for Kobe. Davis admitted that Kobe dominated him that day, but he was still satisfied with how he played and encouraged him to take the next step and become an NBA player.
“I was like, damn, dude. I must be going to the pros now playing one-on-one with Kobe. He kicked my butt, but I was still injured. We laugh about that all the time.”Baron Davis, via ESPN
Kobe and Davis saw plenty of each other after Baron joined the league, especially during Davis’s years in the Pacific division, while playing with the Warriors and the Clippers. They had some great battles while in the NBA, but none of them was more epic than the one that took place in the UCLA training facility.