Tonight versus the Brooklyn Nets, Anthony Davis will play his final game as a 21-year-old. The budding superstar turns 22 years old on Wednesday, March 11.
Given all of Davis’ accomplishments, it can be easy to forget his age. However, Pelicans head coach Monty Williams has been there since the beginning of Davis’ professional career.
"The biggest growth I’ve seen out of him is mental," Williams said. "Yes, physically he’s gotten bigger, but more importantly, he understands the game so much better now."
That basketball understanding has translated into some eye-popping stats on the court.
Since 1973, Shaq (6) and Davis (5) are the only two players to have recorded more than 3 games with at least 8 blocks as 21-year-olds. Davis could tie Shaq tonight.
Going back to 1963, Davis ranks in the Top 10 of almost every statistical benchmark for players 21 year old or younger: 10th in all time points (3,543), 8th in total rebounds (1734), 4th in blocks (447) and 4th in double doubles (90).
Despite the fact he’s 15-pounds heavier and now known world-wide, Davis’ mother, Erainer Davis, says she’s pleased the changes in her son stop there.
"I can’t really say I seen a big change in AD," Davis said. "He’s still the same humble person today that he was three years ago when he was drafted into the NBA. He’s always willing to give his all and strive for greatness. He makes me proud everyday as I watch him get stronger, better in the game of basketball, which he loves."
The Davis family is tight-knit and often travels together for events like the All Star Game and Team USA competitions. Erainer Davis may now be the mother of a wildly successful professional athlete with all the endorsements and financial benefits that come with stardom, but she’s most proud of the fact her son has stayed true to his roots.
"He’s not afraid to take on any challenge that comes his way," Davis said. "The fact that he’s giving back to New Orleans through the AD Flight Academy: each month he gives back to the community, to the kids from bowling, Laser Tag, movies just to name a few. He gives them a chance to come support the Pelicans by giving each child two tickets to the game at his events. That’s why I’m most proud of him."
However, don’t doubt Erainer Davis’ competitive side. She loves a good game of basketball, especially when her son excels. She had to sort through several on-the-court memories before settling on a favorite NBA moment.
"When Anthony hit the buzz beating, game-winning 3-point shot with 5 seconds on the clock against OKC," Davis said. "And might I add - it was on their home turf. That shot won the game for us. He finished the night with 41 points and 10 rebounds. Yes, that was a proud mom moment for sure!"