The return of Baron Davis was a blockbuster news not just in Southern California, but it also sent shockwaves up and down the Pacific Coast if not the entire NBA. It generated a lot of passionate discussion here on BN taking in the povs of Lakers, Warriors and of course Clippers fan.
BD's decision to come home surprised a lot of folks around the country, but it wasn't shocker to those who already knew about Baron's pull towards Los Angeles. According to Art Thompson III of CBS Sportsline.com Baron wanted to come home to LA via Clippers as early as 2002. But when that didn't work out, it didn't damper his passion for coming home:
[H]e never let his passion die for wanting to play in his hometown of Los Angeles. Not even when a midseason trade in 2005 moved him from New Orleans (where the Hornets had relocated in 2002-03) to the Golden State Warriors, a mere 55-minute flight from Oakland to Los Angeles or a $140 car trip, with today's gas prices.
So when the news broke late Tuesday that Davis had agreed to a five-year, $65 million contract to sign with the Clippers -- after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Warriors and leaving $17,810,000 on the table -- many might have been surprised. But not me.
And no, this isn't the first time when Baron has gone with LA (on in our case UCLA):
Baron never has been one to go with the popular sway. Not back in 1997, when the current trend in Southern California was for the blue-chip basketball players to accept scholarships out of state, like to North Carolina, Duke or Syracuse. Not B. He stayed home to attend school and play basketball at UCLA, which had a good but not great program at the time.
Not only did Baron signed up to play for UCLA team which back then (even though coming off a national championship in 95) was as established as Howland's program, he signed up for a UCLA program which was on cruise control (to nowhere) "without a coach" (in his own words).
And to this day Baron remains "fiercely loyal" to his Bruin roots:
Big-time producer Cash Warren, the son of actor and former UCLA basketball star Mike Warren, is a close friend of Davis. Cash and B go back to the time when they attended Crossroads High in Santa Monica. They've already collaborated on one major project, with more sure to come.
B's workout partner and part-time trainer? Rico Hines, who was his teammate at UCLA.
Baron's agent? Another former UCLA teammate and friend, Todd Ramasar, who is no lackey by any stretch of the imagination but an astute businessman, looking out for his client's best interests.
I don't really know much about the business acumen of Ramasar. I don't care much for Rico Hines either. But how Baron has gone out of his way to raise UCLA's profile, to lead on tough issues, and to talk up our alma mater in person whenever UCLA visits Bay Area schools or every chance he gets, means a lot to me. Plus as always there are these memories:
As I have said before, I have never really thought much about the Clippers. But Baron in a Clippers uniform will mean something to me as a fanatic of UCLA (not just UCLA hoops).
Every time Baron shines in the Staples Center as the home town kid, not only will mean good things for LA Clippers, it will also raise the profile of UCLA Athletics and drive home the point, which school's community (students, alums, and fans) truly represent the heart and soul of Los Angeles. Not to mention with JF in Blue and Gold, RW ready to unleash his talents in the next level, and DC, JH and the new core of Bruin guards getting ready for 08-09, there will also be no doubt left among future recruits out West (and in the nation) which school has the title of "Point Guard U."
Once again ... welcome home Baron.