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"Dudes wanted to have good games in the Staples Center"- Baron Davis on why players used to have extra motivation when playing the Los Angeles Lakers

While the Lakers aren't necessarily the same team they once were, it's clear that the allure of playing against them will never get lost
Baron Davis

Baron Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers have always been considered the premier franchise in the NBA. Players love to flock to Los Angeles and play for the Lakers and their prestigious history. While it may not necessarily be the same as it used to be, playing in Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center, always has a certain allure to it for a lot of players.

Baron Davis explains why players used to have more motivation when playing the Lakers

Whether you were lucky enough to play for the Lakers or against them a few times every season, it always had a special meaning to it. Baron Davis never played for the Lakers in his 13-year career, but he was one of the many players who understood that the lights would never be brighter than they were when you played against the Lakers.

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Of course, things are a bit different in the 2022-23 season when the Lakers have a 13-20 record, but back in Davis' days, when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were taking the league by storm, things were different. Davis outlined why players had a bit of extra pep in their step when they played against the Lakers and why it meant so much to many players.

"Back then, dudes wanted to have good games in the Staples Center so that they could have some clout in the summer…The level, the frequency, it's super high. One, because the Lakers come in town, that means it's probably on channel nine…Everybody in L.A. get to see me go; everybody had cable back then, so channel nine, OK, we locked in. Then you got Stu over there, the whole Laker legacy…then you got Kobe and Shaq. So it's like Kobe and Shaq are not going to be the only show. I am going for broke. I am trying to dunk on somebody." - Baron Davis. BigBoyTV

Davis clearly wanted to make a mark when he played against the Lakers

Davis made it clear that he wanted to stand out when he played against the Lakers. All eyes were on the Lakers back in the 2000s, which meant that all eyes were going to be on their opponents. Davis likely wasn't the only one that felt this way, but when it was time to play the Lakers, he wanted to put together a big game because he knew the whole world was watching him play.

Davis certainly made good on his desire to accomplish this throughout his career, as he had some explosive games against the Lakers. But when all was said and done, his averages in 30 career games against the Lakers (16.6 PPG, 6.8 APG, 3.6 RPG, 38.6 FG%) are fairly similar to his overall career averages.

It's interesting to hear Davis open up on his mindset for these games because it isn't necessarily something we tend to think of or notice anymore, partly due to how bad the Lakers have been this season. But it's clear that, even though the Lakers are going through a rough stretch, there will always be an allure to playing against them, and Davis outlines that perfectly here.

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