I’ve been a West Coast guy all my life, and I distinctly remember hearing about this new guard UCLA was about to give heavy play in its rotation. In 1998, Baron Davis came out and became Pac-10 freshman of the year and had become appointment viewing for Pac-10 fans. On one hand he was tearing apart my favorite team. On the other hand, it was effortless.
By his sophomore year he’d come back even after tearing his ACL in the NCAA Tourney (Derrick Rose fans, it is possible) and wasn’t just a shadow of his old self, he was so good it warranted the No. 3 pick in the draft.
Don’t forget: BD was a bad dude once upon a time. (Let’s not forget his fifth season where he went for 22.9 points, 2.4 steals and 7.5 assists per game.)
Today is Baron Davis’ 34th birthday. To celebrate one of the most entertaining players of our generation, we take a look back at the 10 best plays of his career to prove it.
10. A step inside half court is not too long for BD to throw an alley-oop to Blake Griffin.Subscribe to UPROXX
9. He wasn’t the same guy late in his career as he was early, of course, but I like this personal 11-point stretch because it showed a) he could still play and b) he never lacked for confidence even when everyone was dogging him.
8. Flat-footed, Davis throws in an 89-footer to beat the buzzer against Milwaukee.
7. It’s hard to blame this on Bobby Sura, who gets caught on the underside of Davis’ game-winning dunk here at The Palace. Sura’s teammate on the wing plays impeccable matador defense, practically unfurling a red carpet right to Sura’s mug. And Davis doesn’t disappoint.
6. Davis for the win against the Celtics back in 2009, where he gets a shot off with nearly zero room to maneuver between Ray Allen.
5. Jermaine O’Neal sure didn’t see this coming, but Davis has always been able to rise quickly. Too quickly for the Pacer, in this case.
4. I’m not sure if this is the same Washington game as the behind-the-back (#2), but if it is, the Huskies just should have disbanded its team right then and there. This is absurd.
3. Kevin Garnett loafs back on D on a break only to realize Davis was looking for the killshot. At that point KG doesn’t even raise his hands, stuck on becoming a fixture on Davis’ highlight tape.
2. The play that literally made me stand up on my couch â€” and likely most of Los Angeles at the time â€” was a merciless behind-the-back fake on Washington. It left announcer Steve Physioc screaming “Are you kidding me?” into the night.