June 03, 2011
Over his 12-year NBA career, Baron Davis(notes) has been a frustrating player, a guy loaded with as much natural talent as any point guard in the league but not always fully committed to playing his hardest at all times. He's suited up for four franchises, and it's likely he'll play for at least one more before his career is over.
Over that same period, he's been one of the more interesting players in the league off the court, with interests including social justice, business, film production, being friends with Jessica Alba, and usually some combination of two or more of those topics. Yet despite that attention to the world outside basketball, Davis never graduated from college, leaving UCLA after only two years to pursue his NBA dreams.
Now, he's looking to earn his degree. From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal:
Davis hosted 18 boys at Thursday's Indians game as part of the B.R.I.C.K. program serving inner-city youth. Now Davis is following the message he's sending by going back to school to complete his history degree at UCLA.
Davis said the thought of completing his degree became more important to him following the death of his grandmother, who always wanted him to go back and finish. At 32, he's finally going to do it. Davis said he has about two years left to complete his degree.
''I'm not far, but I'm definitely not close,'' he joked. ''All the classes I'm signed up for are things I want to learn now. When you're in school, you're studying stuff wondering 'How am I going to use that in life' or 'What does that matter to me?' Then you get out in the world and you start traveling and history becomes one of the most important things. Now my brain is ready to receive that more than when I was 19 years old and I wanted to dribble [basketballs] all day.''
I'm not sure Baron is entirely right here, in part because history is typically considered to be one of those majors with no clear real-world applications. Whatever the case, it's nice to see Davis thinking about his life after basketball, especially considering his love for the woman who raised him. He's a man with a sense of the world at-large and has been for most of his career.
In fact, his story is a reminder that the deficiencies of some basketball players (lack of focus, inconsistent effort, etc.) are often symptomatic of character traits that make them more interesting people off the court. It would have been nice to see Baron commit himself to the game in his athletic prime, but he should also get credit for becoming a more well-rounded person in general.
Everyone at BDL wishes Davis luck as he pursues his bachelor's degree. Something tells me he might be interested in taking a class on the Battle of Thermopylae.