Baron Davis skulked into the Warriors locker room after Monday night’s victory over the Lakers. “New locker room looks nice,” Baron announced to himself. I don’t believe I’m projecting when I say he sounded wistful. If you’ve ever visited an old house or apartment, you know the feeling. There is a specific pang of nostalgia that comes with confronting how the once familiar has changed in your absence. Joe Lacob spruced up the locker room after he bought the team. The Cohan era is fading out in little and big ways, just like that.
Davis wore a grey Bart Simpson sweatshirt, and it wasn’t working hard to hide his paunch. He chatted up old friends and acquaintances, the behind-the-scenes folks who live the NBA life sans jersey. “I had to support y’all against the Lakers,” Baron declared. He joked with Tim Kawakami about becoming the next UCLA coach.
The once physically imposing Davis looked a bit like a retired dad, puttering around with his beard that could now be confused as an accoutrement of aging, and not the bold fashion statement it was in the mid-2000’s. Baron Davis was the coolest sports figure in the Bay Area for a brief while. He was the only great thing to happen to the Warriors, after a long while. And when he left, it all went to hell again.
Andrew Bogut stood in front of Baron, taking our questions, admitting to having been in a “real dark place” earlier this season. Bogut was chipper, speaking well of how the defense has come together. If all goes according to plan, he’ll see his first playoffs since 2005.
David Lee has frequently discussed the burning want to finally be part of a postseason. Lee was party to a historically dysfunctional Knicks era. Finally, he’s an All-Star, and party to a situation that can be described as something other than “corrosively negative.”
Stephen Curry’s league entrance was greeted by Monta’s public rejection of the Davidson rookie. Then Curry was flanked by Nellie’s D-Leaguers, and Anthony Randolph. Keith Smart and his Acie Law infatuation happened, as did a change in ownership . Then there were the ankle injuries. Monta was traded, long after he and Curry grew to respect each other and co-exist, albeit clumsily. Curry’s journeyed from March Madness success to years of Warriors malaise. Now there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The playoffs are near.
The team Baron Davis once played for is largely gone, save for Andris Biedrins. The team rookie Steph Curry once played for is largely gone, save for Andris Biedrins. The two careers bookend a lot of misery, but one career is on the ascent and the other is probably over. It’s jarring to witness Baron on the periphery of hoops. It’s jarring to consider how the Warriors have finally found life after Baron.