Anthony Davis’ Olympic career officially begins tonight. In a year that was arguably one of the best of all-time for any young college basketball player, picking out a handful of moments that somehow stand out above all of the rest can be a challenge. I think Matt put into words on the radio show the other day what many of us have felt watching the past year unfold for Davis– we feel like proud parents or like we are watching our little brother experience all of the best possible things a young athlete can experience. Sometimes I can’t believe all of the events of the year for Anthony Davis. Instead of attempting to break down which of Anthony Davis’ experiences over the past year were the best, I am going to chronologically list what I believe were 5 of his biggest defining moments–moments when things or perceptions about him changed. To add a little spice, I won’t flat out state the defining moments. I will describe the way in which these moments changed things for Anthony Davis, and you can try to guess exactly what/when these moments were. Some hints within the description should tip you off as to which moment I am referring to. At the bottom of the post, I will reveal the 5 moments in case you haven’t guessed them already. (Side note: This list could likely be even longer, but I decided to just go with 5)
Defining Moment #1
What we already knew: Anthony Davis was coming into college basketball as the top ranked prospect out of high school. What we quickly learned: Something special was brewing in Lexington. We weren’t certain at this point that he would necessarily be the best player on a loaded team, but we were starting to feel the buzz coming out of the Joe Craft Center. “He’s making plays that I’ve never seen a player make before.” Big Blue Nation knew big things were to come.
Defining Moment #2
This was the moment when the entire country was put onto high alert that Anthony Davis was going to be worth keeping an eye on. Those of us in Lexington were already paying close attention. The experts who followed Davis’ rise to the #1 recruit were already paying close attention. Serious basketball fans across the country were probably already paying attention as well. But in this moment, the rest of the country couldn’t help but start to notice. All eyes were now on Anthony Davis.
Defining Moment #3
At this point, it was no longer about speculation or catching anyone’s attention. It was about solidifying the fact that the college basketball world belonged to Anthony Davis.
Defining Moment #4
In this moment we began to see a side of Anthony Davis on display that we had only been able to catch glimpses of up until that moment. His star power and potential to be a marketing dream for whichever NBA team was lucky enough to snag him became very clear. Anthony Davis was showing signs that he had the “intangibles” that come with being a super star on and off the court.
Defining Moment #5
During this moment, Anthony Davis graduated from being the best college basketball player in the country to a recognizable athlete on the biggest stage of all.
1. The first of the summer reports coming from the local media who had the chance to watch some of the open practices.
2. “The Block” against North Carolina to seal the victory
3. At the conclusion of the Louisville Final 4 game, when Anthony Davis triumphantly screamed, “THIS IS MY STAGE!”
4. The Jimmy Kimmel interview after the national championship
5. The opening ceremonies of the Olympics, when Anthony Davis was 1 of 10 athletes mentioned in the broadcast during the walk-in