War Hero: Baron Davis

March 17, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

We here at the Saloon don't really pay much attention to basketball. Sure, we have a fantasy league going and even we have a good hearty laugh at the Sonics. But for the most part, we stick to baseball, football and that silly game where a bunch of guys run around a field and kick a ball back and forth and there's no such thing as stopping the clock. Wait...it's not a "field" is it? Isn't it called a "pitch"? I can't be expected to keep up with such nonsense.

With basketball not being such a high priority here at TMS, we sure do like to highlight basketball players for their achievements. From TMS 2008 Man of the Year, Manute Bol all the way down to Andrei Kirilenko, we seem to have sort of a love/hate relationship with the NBA and its players.

Continuing that trend, I bring you the latest War Hero of Thunder Matt's Saloon. This is a man that is changing the way the game is played. This is a man that can break your ankles on the court and tickle your funny bone off of it. This is a man that can grow a full beard in 3 hours.

This man is Baron Davis.

According to local legend, Baron Walter Louis Davis, a man so awesome, he couldn't be contained by just one middle name, grew up in Los Angeles, California. Sure, records may show that The Baron was delivered at a hospital by his mother, but I'd like to think that someone as awesome as Mr. Davis was delivered to us mere mortals in a different way. Remember that commercial where there's a basketball on a court and it's raining and then all the sudden, Kevin Garnett busts out of the basketball all covered in Gatorade? That's how I like to imagine Baron Davis being born. He was hatched from a basketball. And he had already grown a full beard.

Growing up, the exploits of Baron Davis on the basketball court were the stuff of legend. By the time Baron was 8 years old, he was already 5'3 and could dunk a volleyball. On his 10th birthday, Baron woke up, bench pressed 225 lbs. 52 times, shot 687 consecutive 3-pointers, had breakfast, and punched Saddam Hussein in the throat, for no other reason than to show himself how truly awesome he was. By the time he hit Jr. High, he was already beating Michael Jordan at 1 on 1, Battleship, blackjack and Uno. The Baron finished 8th grade by playing in the Goodwill Games as his own team, 1 player against 5. He placed second.*

*NOTE: Everything in the previous paragraph may have been completely made up.

Baron continued to blow away the competition in high school, where he was a scholarship player for Crossroads School in Santa Monica. You thought scholarships were only for college students, didn't you? Well not for this man-child. Baron walked the halls of Crossroads with many other soon-to-be-famous kids. He was classmates and best buddies with Kate Hudson. I can only assume that since she was in the presence of Baron for more than 2 minutes that they hooked up at least a few times. No one can resist the pull of The Baron.

High school competition proved to be no problem for Baron. He was named the 1997 Gatorade Player of the Year and was a McDonalds All-American. Despite being the shortest player in the field, he wound up winning the slam dunk contest over fellow crazy people Elton Brand, Larry Hughes and Ron Artest.

After blowing away the competition in high school for 4 years, some thought he would skip college and go straight to the pros. Others wondered if the NBA would approach him about skipping the pros and inducting him directly into the Hall of Fame. But being a humble man, Baron decided to go to college, spurning offers from Kansas and Georgia Tech to attend hometown UCLA. Again, Baron's competition was not up to snuff, as he easily captured Pac-10 freshman of the year honors.

Baron got so bored with college competition that he purposefully blew out his ACL in the 1998 just to see if he could come back and dominate. He did, and being so bored with college competition, he made the jump to the NBA and was the 3rd selection overall to the Hornets in 1999.

Davis' time with the Hornets was solid, but unremarkable. They went to the playoffs a few times, but Baron wanted out. If he was going to blow up as a star, Baron needed to be on a team as crazy in the head as he was. And if you want crazy, there's only one place for you: Oakland!

The Baron was shipped off to the Golden State Warriors, where he helped mold a team that was as crazy as he was. He and Jason Richardson laid the foundation, and loco head coach Don Nelson was brought in to run this crazy train. Things were going ok for the Warriors, but things weren't insane enough for Baron. to take the crazy factor up to a brand new level, the Warriors took Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy, who Baron may or may not have referred to as "honkeys" and shipped them off to Indiana. Apparently, the Warriors had their best interests in mind, as everyone knows white people feel most comfortable in the Midwest. In exchange, the Pacers sent Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson to the Warriors, assembling the most off-the-wall team in recent memory. The Warriors played reckless basketball that was genius at times and a trainwreck at others, and Baron was the field general. With their unorthodox "What the hell is defense?" style of play, the Warriors made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season as an 8 seed, lined up to play against the historically-good Dallas Mavericks.

Playing with their crazy, frenetic undersized game, with a big boost coming from their home crowd at Oracle Arena, Baron grew the greatest playoff beard known to man and led the Warriors past the Mavs in the biggest upset in NBA Playoffs history. And while the Warriors fell to the Jazz in the second round, Baron Davis will always be remembered in playoff lore for spiking one of the nastiest dunks in NBA history down on Kirilenko. There are 2 clips I found that are both equally as good (Here and here). The best part of the second clip comes at the end, where Adonal Foyle makes the "Damn, that's nasty!" face. And keep an eye out for Stephen Jachson coming over to brush Baron's shoulders off for him.

And don't fear. The Baron is up to it again this season. Right now, the Warriors are holding steady as the #8 seed in the West. They're probably shooting for that spot to take out another #1 seed in the playoffs again.

But as great as Davis is on the court, it's off the court where he really becomes a War Hero. Much like Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis is a goofy, quirky dude. But unlike Arenas, Baron is slowly taking over the internet in a series of hilarious videos and sites. Want to see Baron Davis rollerskating around for 3 minutes wearing what looks like a women's tanktop? Check it out here. Ever wondered what it would be like if Baron Davis worked at a McDonalds for a day? Wonder no longer! Baron Davis is so awesome that even David Blaine watches in amazement.

Baron even keeps a blog, where he uses phrases like "Boom in the Yard!!" I have no idea what that means, but I've already used it twice today and everyone within earshot pulled out their wallets and handed me money. Seriously, every entry is a little slice of Heaven. YOu have to love a guy that will start off a blog entry with " It's me, BD, Boom Dizzle, Diddy Boom, and I'm back in the Yard." So now you'll never have to wonder what Baron Davis is up to at Christmas. He'll just tell you:

Merry Christmas to all. Glad we got those two days off. Practiced on Christmas but I needed it because I ate everything. Yams. Greens. Mac n cheese. Fried chix. Corn bread. Sweet potatoe pie. All yumminess. LOL. Got some nice gifts but most importantly I got to spend time with my mom! Wish yall safe holidayz and a safe new year. ill holla...

And for those of you who are clamoring to know what Baron's top movies of 2007 were, you can check that out too.

So whether he's defeating Communists by slam dunking them back to the Napoleonic era on the court, or skating around and attending movie premieres off it, Baron Davis is changing the game of basketball. His skill and sense of humor make him very easy to root for. And he (might have) hooked up with Kate Hudson. And once, he scissor kicked Angela Lansbury.* But one thing he never did was choke his coach during a game. And for that, he's probably the best Golden State Warriors player of all time. And he's my hero.

And he loves his grandma.

*Again, probably didn't happen.

The many faces of Baron Davis. Each of them more awesome than the last.