Skip to main content

Former NBA player Walter Davis explains how he had one of the biggest influences on Michael Jordan's development as a player


The younger generation of NBA fans probably never heard of Walter Davis, but he was a 6-time NBA All-Star and one of the most efficient scorers in the late 70's and early 80's. Davis played 15 seasons in the league and is one of the players that, in many ways, influenced Michael Jordan, who patterned a lot of his game working out with Davis. They both played college basketball for UNC, so it wasn't hard for Jordan to reach out to Davis and get some valuable basketball lessons.

"It is humbling to hear him say that I was an influence on him growing up, that he was a fan of mine. But that is one of the things about the game of basketball, the way it gets passed on from one group to the next and how each generation influences the next. I got tips from my brothers, their friends, so I tried to return the favor when I got back to Carolina. I showed Michael a couple of moves."

Davis said he and Jordan worked on several aspects of his game. As a true scholar of the game, Jordan wanted to learn as much as he could, and according to Davis, he would do everything he told him. He was a careful listener and surprised Davis with his work ethic and natural abilities he possessed.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"I worked with him on the jab-step and the pump fake, which were some of my favorite moves. The mid-range shot was something I emphasized, I remember telling him that it was important to make that shot. When he helped us win the 82 national championships, that was a midrange shot. Michael had a lot of natural ability with that shot. What stood out to me was Michael listened to instruction, he wanted to get better. If you told him something, he was going to work on it. We would be out there playing pick-up for two hours l, get done, go shower, get dressed, and go to dinner. That would take us an hour. When we would come back from dinner, Michael would still be out there practicing. He was practicing an hour after we had been playing for two hours."

Michael Jordan was the total package, and Davis said several important factors enabled Jordan to be the best the game has ever seen. Jordan had incredible talent in terms of his physical ability, but on top of all that, he had the ultimate desire for the best basketball player, and he worked a lot to achieve those goals. Davis said Jordan's mindset was to outplay his opponents every time he stepped on the court no matter what.

"All he seemed to do was work on his game. When you combine his work ethic, natural gifts, talent, and athletic ability, he is the total package. You can't help from being the best player of all time when you have all that on your side. Michael got up for everybody. He always wanted to prove how good he was, he wanted to win the game, every time he stepped on the floor, that was all that was on his mind."

X-factors in Mavs-GSW series: Spencer Dinwiddie, Andrew Wiggins

X-factors in Dallas Mavericks-Golden State Warriors series: Spencer Dinwiddie, Andrew Wiggins

Dinwiddie and Wiggins have now found their homes with the Mavs and the Warriors, respectively. It's now up to them to repay that trust.

Tony Parker just wanted to make it to the NBA, and ended up becoming a legend in the process

Tony Parker shares what made it so hard to make it in the NBA as a European point guard back in the day

Tony Parker accomplished so much throughout his illustrious career, but his only goal initially was just to make it in the NBA

John Salley compares Luka Doncic to Larry Bird

John Salley says he would fear Luka Doncic the same way he feared Larry Bird

It might be too early to draw parallels between Larry Bird and Luka Doncic. But according to John Salley, both possess the same fear factor on the court.


Patrick Beverly disrespects the 2020 Lakers championship: "The Bubble Championship"

LeBron might think that was one of the hardest championships to win in NBA history, but Pat Bev is not having it!

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

This Playoff run exposed Chris Paul’s age more than ever. Gone are the days when he had all energy, pop, and even to an extent, durability to stay on the court.

Isiah Thomas criticism of Chris Paul still stands

Isiah Thomas’ past criticisms of Chris Paul still rings true: "He has to push past safe"

Isiah Thomas claimed Chris Paul was playing too safe to maintain his good stats. The Hall of Famer wanted CP3 to take some risks to win games.


Matt Barnes calls Patrick Beverly a clown for the Chris Paul slander: "You're not that guy"

Barnes went in on Pat Bev: "Chris Paul played terrible this series and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been."

Patrick Beverley wouldn't mind joining LeBron James and the Lakers

Patrick Beverley on playing with the Los Angeles Lakers if he had the chance: “I wouldn’t even hesitate”

Patrick Beverley admitted that there's nothing like playing for the Lakers franchise