Ricky Davis was a high-flying, dunk posterizing, high energy forward who stuck in the league for 12 seasons. The one-year Iowa Hawkeye fell to the late first-round in the 1998 NBA Draft, one of the most underrated drafts in recent memory. Featuring the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Mike Bibby, Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, and other notable stars, Davis could have been a footnote in an absolutely stacked class. Instead he carved out an up-and-down career that won him all sorts of fans, long after his NBA days were over.
Playing for seven teams in his dozen years, Davis was the slam-dunk runner-up in 2000 behind then Raptors guard Vince Carter. Davis wouldn’t take long to make an extreme impact on the court, making his mark most notably on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002-2003 campaign where he averaged 20.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 39.6 minutes a night.
Now, Davis, who’s still three years younger than fellow draftee and dunk competition foe Vince Carter, is embarking on a new challenge with the Big3 league. Formed by Ice Cube, the league has garnished tons of publicity for its incredibly big list of former NBAers including Davis himself. The independent league, which announced tickets were on sale last week, has gained a ton of momentum due to its recent draft, team logos, and name list.
Davis sat down with DIME and discussed the new league, what he expects, his time in Cleveland, and his new role as a coach and mentor for his foundation.
Why Did You Decide To Play In The Big3?
Well, I decided to play in it because I had heard Ice Cube was putting on a 3-on-3 league. He was someone who I grew up listening to and watching, just such an icon that you saw on TV all the time. Honestly, when you saw someone that was your idol putting on a 3-on-3 league, it was just very hard to resist.
What will be on the line other than just bragging rights, when you’re playing in this league?
Well, it’s bragging rights. But, it’s also a great opportunity for guys who have put a ton of hard work and sacrificed their life for basketball to get another shot at going out there and showing the fans that we still got it. I just think it’s going to be really, really fun.
Does it feel like a reunion in a lot of ways, playing with and against a lot of the players you’ve been around previously?
It does. It definitely does. Guys are getting back together and I have several teammates that I’ve played with and against, and it’s good to see those guys and be around each other again. But, it’s just good to get back out there with the fans and really, I’m just looking forward to competing against all these guys. When we get out on the court, we’re just gonna go hard because it’s the only thing we know how to do.