Baron is one of my favorite players of all time. No joke. All time. I loved watching him ball out there. He's the reason I have a beard. I'm dead serious. It always felt like you were watching that one kid at the park who could have gone to play college ball if he wanted to but didn't. He'd just fool around with opponents. Plus, unlike most of the great point guards in NBA history, he had exceptional leaping ability and tremendous strength. He could pop a three in your face, cross you up, back you down, or SLAM on you (just ask Andrei Kirilenko). He had such a wide variety of talent and made watching basketball fun for any sports fan. If you didn't appreciate watching B Diddy in his prime, I actually don't believe you appreciate athletics in general. He was exceptional, and I'd like to quickly pay homage to his career which I feel like not enough people respect.
Baron was drafted with the third overall pick in the NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets after putting together this beautiful highlight reel in college:
By the time Baron was 22 years old he was averaging 18 points, 8.5 assists and over 2 steals a game for the Hornets during their last year in Charlotte. The Hornets made the move to NOLA with Baron as their star player, and there he managed to score his career best 22.9 points per game. However, he would soon be shipped to his home state of California. Due to a bit of beef between Baron and then-coach Byron Scott, and the Hornets desire to clear cap space, they traded Baron to the Golden State Warriors for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis at the trade deadline of the 2004-05 season. This is when my love for B Diddy really picked up.
During the three full seasons that Baron spent with the Warriors, he posted averages of 20.2 points, 8.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. Exceptional numbers, and countless Sports Center Top 10 plays along the way. Then there was, of course, the unbelievable 2007 playoff series in which Baron's 8th seeded Warriors knocked off the top seeded Mavs. Dirk was averaging 24.6 a game and had his Mavs as frontrunners to make it to the finals, but Baron's 25 points per game in the series sent Dirk and his boys packing their bags. The following series was a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Jazz, but Baron had already led his Warriors to the record books, becoming the first 8 seed to beat a 1 seed in a seven game series.
After his stint with the Warriors, Baron signed with a struggling Clippers team who never made the playoffs, despite signing Baron. His career sort of went downhill from there. Regardless, he remained a class act and even in his old age he would occasionally put on a show reminiscent of the And1 Mixtape Tour. He's not a hall-of-famer, and his shot selection and turnovers were sometimes maddening, but Baron Davis was a player unlike any other. He could single handedly take over a game against anyone and lead his team to victory. His remarkable passes and ankle breaking crossovers had every basketball fan tuning into his games whenever they could. I just wanted to say that I love what Baron "Boom Dizzle" Davis has done for the game of basketball, what he's done for my own appreciation of basketball, and that I'm gonna miss him. And now I leave you with this...