The day-to-day life of an NBA player features huge stretches of downtime; there’s only so many hours of practicing and working out that can be done without damaging the body, the most important asset an athlete possesses. As a result, guys in the League pick up hobbies: movies, television, reading, and, perhaps most popular of all, video games. Lots and lots of video games.
Like many of his teammates and colleagues throughout the L, Hornets big man, early Rookie of the Year favorite and all-around nice guy Anthony Davis spends hours and hours in front of a TV set steadily improving his video game skills when as he’s not busy steadily improving his basketball skills. SLAM spoke with Davis about CoD, how he’s avoided rookie hazing, his summer with Team USA and plenty more.
SLAM: Have you always been a big video games guy?
Anthony Davis: Always. Actually, I just got home from practice and I’m about to play video games right now. I love it. I play Call of Duty 24/7. If Call of Duty came out with a game everyday, I would get it.
SLAM: Did you get to preview Black Ops II?
AD: Nah, but when I visited [the Activision office] it was there and they were showing me how it works. I got a chance to check it out. It looks awesome, I can’t wait to get it. I told my coach, I might miss practice a couple days playing. [Laughs]
SLAM: Have you been playing video games with your new teammates yet?
AD: Yeah, we been playing a lot of Madden and NBA 2K and FIFA.
SLAM: I’m trying to imagine who’d be great and who’d be terrible amongst your teammates.
AD: Darius Miller is a great FIFA player. He’s probably one of the best FIFA players I’ve ever played against. As far as 2K, I’m not really sure. There’s a lot of 2K players down here, so it’s tough. I just actually started playing a couple days ago, so I’m kind of not good.
SLAM: What do you consider to be your favorite video game ever? Is there any game you had a special attachment to as a child?
AD: Probably on Nintendo 64, Donkey Kong. Yeah, Donkey Kong is one of the best games ever.
SLAM: Do you think the experience over the summer with Team USA will have a lasting effect on you?
AD: Oh yeah. It was my first time out of the country. It was a great experience for me, and playing with those guys was great. I wish I could do it all over again. I really learned a lot.
SLAM: Did you make a connection with any of the guys specifically that you weren’t expecting to?
AD: Yeah. Kevin Durant. He’s a funny guy. Andre [Iguodala]—me and him, especially both being from Chicago, made a connection. Really all the guys welcomed me, made me feel like I was a part of the team. You couldn’t ask for anything better.
SLAM: Who was the funniest guy on the team?
AD: Probably LeBron. It’s gotta be between LeBron and Melo. Actually, the whole team was funny. Russell [Westbrook]. Those guys are always making jokes.
SLAM: I imagine you probably had a pretty interesting relationship with Kobe, given that he was the elder statesman on the squad and you were the up-and-comer.
AD: Yeah, me and Kobe were real close. He told me when I come to L.A., to hit him up. He’s definitely gonna be one of my closest friends—he really showed me a lot of love. He put me under his wing, and helped me out whenever I needed something.
SLAM: Were you intimidated at all by Kobe at first?
AD: Kind of. It’s Kobe, so, I mean…[laughs]. That big-name guy. But he was definitely welcoming, and that really helped me out, just being a part of the team.
SLAM: On Twitter you said the team you’re on now has to be the funniest that was ever assembled. I’m gonna need some details on how you came to that conclusion.
AD: Yeah, these guys are so funny. Al-Farouq [Aminu] and Lance [Thomas] and Darius and Brian Roberts, all those guys are probably the funniest guys I ever met. And to be put in one room, just laughing about every time, always making a joke out of something. It can be not funny and they say something and it’s just funny, ‘cause they’re such funny guys. It’s definitely one of the funniest teams I’ve ever been.
SLAM: It’s still so early, but you think you guys are developing a strong chemistry?
AD: Yeah, definitely. We try to do everything as a team, as much as possible, just to have that chemistry. We know we’re a young team and kind of the underdogs, so we have to put in more work than any other team. We need all the time we can get to develop that bond and that chemistry together.
SLAM: You’re on a young team and you were also first pick in the Draft. Do either of those things help you avoid rookie hazing?
AD: Yeah, it does. We don’t have to do as much. You have to bring a paper in every day, another rookie has to bring in donuts. It’s not as bad as we thought it was gonna be. I saw an Instagram picture, Deron Williams and Reggie Evans put popcorn all in MarShon Brooks’ car. That was crazy. I would hate for someone to do that to me. It’s not as bad as rookies that deal with with five, six veterans on their team. We only have a couple, and they tell us they hated it when they got messed with when they were rookies so they’re not gonna do it to us.
SLAM: You got lucky.
AD: Yeah, I did. [Laughs]
SLAM: Is there anyone you’re looking forward to matching up against?
AD: KG. I kind of resemble my game after him, and Garnett’s a guy who’s a guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer, so I try to see how I match up with him, see how I do against him. It’s definitely gonna be an exciting match and it’s gonna make me be a better basketball player.
SLAM: Everyone talks about how amazing the food is in New Orleans. Have you been enjoying it?
AD: Yeah, the food’s been great. Only bad thing is, I don’t eat seafood. It’s very hard for me to go to a restaurant [and order something beside] seafood. It’s hard. But I found a couple places down here that I really like.