We need to give thanks to Jerry West........

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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:59 am
Just spotted this article talking about how Baron was gonna sulk, demand and possibly opt of his contract this year..............until he met "The Logo" =

West's advice helps Davis on, off court

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, January 17, 2008

(01-16) 18:43 PST -- Baron Davis carries himself with the regal and assured bearing of a baron, but one day last summer, he was taken out of his game.

Davis was leaving a rehab clinic in Los Angeles when he spotted Jerry West on the sidewalk. West also was leaving the clinic, where he was rehabbing from a shoulder injury.

Davis was star-stuck. The NBA logo is a silhouette of Jerry West dribbling. West was chosen as the logo more or less by chance, but many NBA people see the logo as artistic validation of West's aura. West is commonly referred to as The Logo, or simply Logo.

West's playing credentials are mythical. As an executive, his skills were considered magical. Davis had seen West play many times, on ESPN Classic, and West had seen Davis play at UCLA, but they hadn't met.

"I was nervous," Davis said. "I was real nervous. There he is, here's an opportunity to finally have a conversation with the man."

Davis introduced himself and told West how much he admired his game and everything he has accomplished in basketball. West smiled, but cringed.

West was the ultimate spotlight player, "Mr. Clutch," but he shuns the spotlight and is uncomfortable with flattery. The first bit of advice he gave Davis was not to call him "Mr. West."

Davis is 28 and very much the modern superstar. West is 69 and played in the ancient era of tiny pants and tiny paychecks. It was Old School (West retired as a player in '74) meets New School, but they hit it off immediately. And their friendship has had a large impact on the Warriors.

Davis and West talked for half an hour. Over the next few weeks, they talked during their rehab workouts. They talked hoops and life. Davis sought West's advice, and West obliged.

Davis had a chip on his shoulder. He had just gone public with his semi-demand that the Warriors extend his contract, which ends after next season. He said if the Warriors did not do so, he would play out this season and most likely walk away from the final year of the contract. Davis was setting the stage to arrive in camp as an unhappy camper, on a team where chemistry is everything.

Talking to West, Davis talked tough, said he was going to let the Warriors know he was unhappy. Davis expected that West, who had his contract squabbles as a player, would lend a sympathetic ear. He did not.

"That's the wrong approach," West told Davis, quietly.

Davis said, "He gave me a lot of Basketball Business 101. Did it cause a shift in my thinking? Yeah."

West told Davis he would look bad, alienate everyone, ruin his image. He told Davis not to take the contract situation personally. He told Davis, "The most important thing is that you're in a good place, playing for a coach who lets you play your game, uninhibited. You're in a perfect position with the Warriors. Be positive. Just go up there, shut up and play."

West's honesty took Davis by surprise.

"He never told me what I wanted to hear," Davis said. "He always told me what was right. It was a satisfying feeling to not hear somebody sugarcoat something. ... Sometimes when you're (famous), or you're the star player on a team, a lot of people don't want to put a dent in your ego. ... Constructive criticism for me is a must and a need. That's why I think I have been able to play so well under coach Nellie, because he's like that.

"Mr. West in the summer, it was just incredible, because not only did he tell me what was right, he gave me pointers on how to be a better leader, how to be a better player, everything from making moves to just talking about the game."

The artist who designed the logo picked the right model. West has basketball in his marrow. He's friendly with a lot of players and he's very close with a few, including Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

"I love players," said West, who retired last year as president of the Memphis Grizzlies, "particularly players who I think play the game at a high level.

"If you play the game just because you want to get paid, I'm not much of a fan, OK? Baron does (play at a high competitive level), and he's had some spectacular games, and late in games, he's been a real force for them. He's been playing the game at a really high level, and he's the driving force for them to win, the catalyst."

West tried to impress on Davis that he was part of something special, that many NBA teams are essentially failed experiments in chemistry, and that it's rare to see a team like the Warriors.

"The Warriors are really fun to watch play," West said. "Really fun. And they play so damn hard that it's a joke."

Had Davis hit camp whining and pouting about his contract, the team magic would have faded. But Davis listened to West, and got it.

"He's The Logo," Davis said. "There's a reason he's the NBA sign. ... For me, it was an amazing experience, to be a young guy and to be around Jerry West twice a week and be able to talk to him. I seized that opportunity because I knew it would benefit me, I could gain enough knowledge that maybe I could pass it down to some of the younger guys on my team."

Davis, thinking about his chance meeting with West, said, "I hit the lotto. He's got a great personality, great energy, great love for the game, great love for people. He's the type of role model you want to be. And hey, he's had an impact on this league that every player wants to have. To follow in his footsteps, I know I have to be on my Ps and Qs."

Davis reported to camp in a determinedly upbeat, positive frame of mind. He has been playing great ball. He's the team leader. The Warriors are winning.

Assist, Logo.
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Posts: 13751
» Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:44 am
Excellent article, bigstrads! Thanks for posting it!

Thank God for Jerry West. I dunno where we'd be if the pouty, arrogant, non-trying Baron Davis had returned. Big ups to the Logo for showing Baron that players that can play well AND maintain good posture, off the court, are the ones deemed most stable and, thus, get the biggest paydays. At this point, its impossible for me to imagine the Warriors sans Baron Davis.
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:51 am
That was a good read. I did wonder why Baron backed off his offseason demands so quickly, but that sheds some light on it. Even though it took the honest opinion of an NBA legend, I'm glad it happened. West is uniue in that he is an NBA great who also, legitimately, knows the business side of the game as much as anyone else.
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:17 pm
Thanks for posting it, bigstrads.

I'm just find surprising that people doesn't realize the situation they're in. I mean... if you're having fun, earning millions and doing great in life, like Baron is at this point, do you really need somebody else to tell you to shut up and enjoy the moment and that all the rest of good things will come at the right time?.
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:30 pm
Its mostly human nature to not realise what youve got until its gone............and I think its the fear of losing it that drives this kind of dis-regard for logical thinking and realisation of how lucky you are.

I think if most of us were earning the ridiculous amounts of money that high end players get, we would worry about whether we were going to stay that way and also..............pro sports players have a pretty short shelf life, who in the world is set for life at 35 years old? Thats why these guys want to get whatever they can in the hope that when they retire they can carry on some sort of resemblance to their current life of luxury.

Not excusing it and I agree its all pretty elogical to us "normal" money earning humans, we see it as them having a privaledged life, getting to play a sport that we would give our right arm to play just once (although I dont think Id be very effective without my right arm!).............but it is these guys life and they put alot into it and do sacrifice alot too.

Ahh well, atleast Baron saw the light and came into camp with the right attitude and probably in the best shape for a long time............all hail Jerry West :D
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:40 pm
Yeah, I get what you mean, and you're totally right. I've even defended that side several times before.

I'm just saying that when you DEMAND something... you usually get worst results than if you work hard to achieve it and let it come to you at the right time.
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:53 pm
TMC wrote:I'm just saying that when you DEMAND something... you usually get worst results than if you work hard to achieve it and let it come to you at the right time.

Hells yeah.................anyone who goes about it that way is showing a complete disregard/disrespect for what they have............just play hard and you get what you deserve, simple as that...............unless a team is planning to dump your huge contract!? which I dont think the Dubs are/were doing, just maybe seeing if he can make a full season and keep up the play he has.
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:44 pm
Nice article Bigstrads. My respect for Jerry West just got even greater, as I had herd a few years ago that he was real genuine in an honest and to the point way
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» Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:26 pm
Great article Bigstrads. I'm glad Baron got ahold of some good advice, and was not arrogant to ignore it. I hope an article like this could and should speak to a lot of other athletes.
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» Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:24 am
nice story for sure. It can be easy to lose perspective, which is that one year's "salary" for BD, 13 mil, would set anyone on this board up for life just on interest...it is human nature to take whatever situation you are in and make it the new normal, so it was a nice reality check for West to point out how fortunate baron was to find the right fit with Nelson in the Bay
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» Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:46 pm
When i think about our players and how they're in contract years it makes me sad. This was the team that brought us back to prominence. The fact that we might not be able to keep the same core makes me wanna cry... god dammit... i really wish baron asks for less money so we can have room for monta and andris. Too bad that probably not gonna happen. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:
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» Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:18 pm
great read. Glad Baron is willing to listen. Alot of stars think they know it all and are too good for advice.

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