Transcript of Baron Davis Signing Press Conference
[url]http://www.nba.com/hornets/news/davis_extension_press_conference_020730.htmlBaron Davis Signing Press Conference
Baron Davis, Bob Bass and George Shinn.
Owner George Shinn:
Weíre here today to announce the signing of an extended contract of our superstar point guard, Baron Davis. We hope the community realizes this shows a sign of our commitment to winning. Baron was an All-Star at age 22, and is probably, in my estimation, the most exciting player in the NBA. We look forward to a number of years of winning, not just Eastern Championships, but NBA Championships with Baronís leadership. I had a conversation with Baron just before we came up, we talked about community involvement. He has committed, as I have, to be extremely involved in this community and helping in any way he can through charitable organizations or whatever. At this point, I would like to bring up our superstar and give him, since we donít have our new uniforms, our beads. I would like to crown him as probably our richest Hornet right now.
First of all, I would like to thank God, because without him none of this would be possible. Also, I would like to thank my grandmother who is not here and couldnít be here, she is like my rock and I know she is watching and I hope she is proud of me and I love her a lot. Iíd like to thank our owners, George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge, Bob Bass, my agent Jerome Stanley and everyone who participated in this.
I know itís been a long tough process, but we came to a great conclusion and I am happy to be here. I had never been here before until I came during the Essence week and after I left, my heart was like ďI have to come here.Ē I had dinner with the Mayor; how many of you have had dinner with the Mayor. It was great, the people were excited about us, itís a small town and itís something I know I can be a huge part of. As long as we are winning, thatís all that matters, and the team we are putting on the court next year will be a great team. Iím really excited about coming here and being a part of the community, like Mr. Shinn said, and just really giving my all to the city of New Orleans. I am happy itís over with and Iím ready to play next year.
Executive Vice President Of Basketball Operations Bob Bass:
It certainly is a great day for New Orleans, a great day for the Hornets and a great day for Baron. Our owners stepped up and made a great commitment, Baron stepped up and made a great commitment. This is seven years of his life and I donít know whether George and I can last that long, but weíre going to give it a shot. Itís a pleasure for me to be involved and being able to sign a player that is one of the bright young stars in the league.
This is a great day for the city of New Orleans. I go back to watching the ABA team, the Buccanners, and I have been watching this young man since he got in the league. He is probably the premier point guard in the league and I think it is going to be such an exciting time in New Orleans when the New Orleans Hornets play their first game. Now, I did tell him thisÖ I saidÖNew Orleans is a city that is not like where you come from and you will have to really be careful; the food, you will probably gain about 10-20 lbs., thank God he has a fiancťe, because there are some temptations here also. And I also advised him to stay away from Bourbon Street. But we are so pleased to have you in our city, we look forward to watching your career over the next seven years, and a lot of magazines are picking this team to be in the NBA Finals and I am going to be right there courtside, or wherever they assign me, watching this team play. Good luck in the future to the Hornets and good luck to you Baron.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH GEORGE SHINN
(on the contract)
Larry Johnson, I was criticized on one end and paid for it, but this player is a key ingredient to our future. He is not probably one of the best point guards, I think he is the best point guard. The fact of his age, his athletic skills, he can get the job done. The players that we have can help him, and he mentioned all the talent we have. WeĎre going to have a really good team this year.
(on Baron being a franchise player)
We had already talked about it and decided, Bob Bass and the basketball people said this guy is definitely a maximum player, contract player, we have got to re-sign him for the franchise. You build a franchise on its assets, and its assets are its players. This is one of the best players we have ever had and he is a great young guy, he is talented, he is committed to getting out into the community. He has made some promises with some things Iím going to be doing, where he is going to go along and help me. We have a lot to do to keep this franchise going, and getting the players involved in the community is one of the ways and he is committed to doing that. I think we just placed once big piece of the puzzle in here.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH BOB BASS
(on Baron's game)
He can make plays and help his teammates be better players. He has developed into a very good three-point shooter, he can beat his guy off the dribble, he just does everything a good point guard needs to do. He is young, his whole game is ahead of him. He has a great future.
(on the 2002-03 Hornets)
If we can keep (Jamal) Mashburn healthy all year, and if weíve got (George) Lynch healthy all year, weí re already a different team. In addition, we now have Courtney Alexander. We just need to stay healthy and I think we have a chance.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH BARON DAVIS
(on his much talked about desire to play on the West Coast)
It was close, but I knew they wanted to keep me here and they wanted to sign me so I always knew I had that deal on the table. It was a matter of me coming here to the city of New Orleans, seeing it, feeling it out -- traveling around the city to see what it had to offer. Once I did that, I saw it was a great city with great potential.
(on the New Orleans craziness)
Iím ready for it. I can just imagine all these people on Bourbon Street and all around the French Quarter coming to the game and supporting us and making a really great atmosphere. One of the best NBA crowds, that is what Iím predicting.
(on his reputation taking a bit of a hit)
You donít really want to have a negative perception in the media and people were beginning to misconstrue that I was the one demanding everything and coming off as a selfish athlete and Iím not. But it wasnít that, the only reason was because of my grandmother and she was sick last year so I wanted to be close to her because she is all that I have and that is one of the big reasons I had wanted to go to L.A. People donít really know the whole jist of the story, they just know what they assume.
(on his grandmother)
She was born and raised in Shreveport, LA . She makes all the decisions for me. When I told her I wanted to play for the Clippers and told her my situation here, she said you have to do the best thing for you, it may not be the best thing to come and play at home. I thought about it, evaluated the situation, and now Iím here.
(on playing with a winning team)
I think wherever I go, I can make a team a playoff contender. Right now, we are already a playoff contender. The next step is getting to the Championship. We have the ingredients and talent to make that happen. All we need is a healthy season from beginning to end and I think that can happen.
(on getting the contract signed)
Yes itís a big relief. I can put my feet up now and put this behind me. Now itís back to work. Back to basketball, all that matters now is basketball and that is what Iím looking forward to .