Anthony Davis raised some hackles earlier this week when he — perhaps innocently — didn’t rule out the idea that he could potentially return to Chicago to play for his hometown Bulls. In fairness to Davis, he was responding to a reporter’s question and accurately pointed out that he’ll be a free agent next summer.
Yet he felt compelled to clarify those comments the following day after they were unsurprisingly blown way out of proportion over the course of the day. In the process, Davis propped up his hometown by calling it the Mecca of Basketball, a distinction that has traditionally belonged to New York.
Historically, the Second City has had a chip on its shoulder as the kid brother to NYC, and the irony of all this is that it was actually Chicago hero Michael Jordan who was partially responsible for dubbing New York the Mecca. Still, there are other Chicagoans who are ready to ride with Davis on this, namely Doc Rivers.
Rivers was born and raised in Chicago, so he didn’t hesitate to come to Davis’ defense when asked about it at practice on Wednesday — and scoffed at the notion is current place of residence, Los Angeles, belonged in the conversation.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 5, 2019
“Yeah, he’s right. It’s not even a question,” Rivers said. “I really believe that. New York gets all the rub, which I don’t get, but Chicago, it’s not even close.”
Rivers, of course, has somewhat divided loyalties as he spent two seasons playing the Knicks in the early 90s, yet it’s clear where his true allegiances lie. Chicago has a long, storied basketball tradition and has produced countless stars over the years. But seizing the title as the Mecca of Basketball is no small order with the long shadow that New York has cast over the cultural consciousness.