New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis is both a frustrating basketball player and an impressive person. Blessed with more talent (natural and otherwise) than any other point guard of his generation, he nevertheless has troubles focusing on basketball, which means he's only intermittently fulfilled his massive potential. When he has, such as during the Warriors' "We Believe" playoff run, in 2007, it's been amazing. When he hasn't, it's usually been because he seems more interesting in producing movies or generally setting himself up for life after basketball. He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a conversation with, but not necessarily someone you want on your team. It's weird how that works out.
Davis hasn't played for the Knicks yet as he recovers from a back injury, but he's still using New York to his advantage. Sadly, for distraught Knicks fans, those moves involve creating and acting on television programs, not basketball. From Sam Alipour for ESPN's Page 2 (via TBJ):
It's a chilly November evening in Hollywood, and the NBA veteran (now with the Knicks) is about to tape a cameo for the TV Land sitcom "Hot In Cleveland." That was the plan, anyway. Upon arrival, Davis took one look at the series lead, the illustrious Betty White, and all but ran for the door.
"I just forgot all of my lines!" Davis yelps at the 90-year-old comedienne and TV legend, his eyes as wide as the ball he bounces for a living. "I'm so starstruck!"
Can't blame him. Davis is about to go toe-to-toe with the star of his all-time favorite sitcom, "Golden Girls," in a scene that sees Davis paying a visit to White's Elka, who is something of a "sports whisperer," for help with his game. Elka advises the point guard to "bring back Kareem's sky hook." He balks. "Well, if you're too chicken …" [...]
Davis, though, is a trained actor, having hired an acting coach last fall. "I get asked to do things like this all the time," he explains, "so I thought I'd put in the work and have the same respect for acting as I do for my sport." [...]
This past summer, Davis filmed a role as a gym teacher in Adam Sandler's "Donny's Boy" (formerly "I Hate You, Dad"), which bows in June. Next, he'll shop to networks a self-produced pilot for "I Love Boom," a reality-based sitcom that Davis describes as "Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Entourage," about the off-court life of an NBA player (Davis, playing himself). "It's an offbeat look at a player's typical day off, when he goes to doctor's appointments and always says the wrong things," Davis offers.
Sounds like Baron is well on his way to "stealing" an Emmy and turning his acting career into a "slam dunk." (Puns are a hallmark of good writing; just ask the writing staff of "Sex and the City.")
It might seem weird that Davis would be starstruck by a woman best known these days as a sentient Internet meme, but his love of "Golden Girls" really just proves that he has good taste. White is a legend, and her chemistry with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty was just about the best on TV at the time. It was a show about old ladies, sure, but also the bonds of friendship and how to get along with someone you may not even like a lot of the time. Give the reruns a chance some time.
Ah, right, this is a basketball blog. Davis filmed this appearance in November, but Knicks fans nonetheless can't be happy that Baron has Hollywood on his mind while he should be spending as much time as possible rehabbing his injury. Then again, at this point in his career the extracurricular interests are a given. This is what he wants to do with his life, clearly, and any team that hires him to play basketball must know he's going to explore those opportunities, especially in a city like New York. It has to be tolerated, if not loved; the Knicks have no one to blame but themselves.
Frankly, the more interesting question to ask isn't why Baron doesn't spend all his time on basketball, but why so many fans have such a problem with his use of time. Any other person, when they begin to become unfulfilled by their primary job, seeks out other activities — it's a natural part of prolonged employment. Why should Davis be any different?