A white, clean jersey is cut with teal and gold at the side. A man standing over six feet and nine inches fills it and the hoop as he fades away. The announcer proclaims – “Daaaaavid West” with a hiss at the end.
This was my fondest memory of David West, my favourite NBA player.
The 2003 NBA Draft was headlined by some pretty big names. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh all were headliners in the first round. However, the man from Xavier and one of the best college players, David West went unheralded largely because of physical attributes.
No one really wanted an undersized power-forward. How could he possibly matchup with the much taller power-forwards of today’s game?
This is what made him so special and it’s why the Hornets decided to go with him with the 18th selection in the 2003 NBA draft. He had four things that both the organisation and I still admire to this day. His toughness, humbleness, work-ethic and desire to be the best at his profession all stood out as the traits that made him who he is.
Personally though, there’s something I hold much closer to me when it comes to David. He was somewhat of a role model for me the past 5 or so years. The reason has always been that I could see some of myself in him.
West was never the most athletic player on the court, but what he lacked in dunking ability, he made up with craftiness and toughness. I tried to live up to this through sporting endeavours or just the way I embraced challenges. His determination, the way he never backed down (like the Dirk Nowitzki face tap of death) were things I loved about David.
There was no way of breaking his spirit and drive, this stands true today.
David now joins the Indiana Pacers, a small market team, with big ambitions. The New Orleans Hornets hope to one day be an organisation with those same ambitions. Nobody can blame West for wanting to leave. For a long while now people have been resigned to the notion that he had booked his ticket out of town a long time ago.
But he never once checked out for the Hornets, he always gave it his all both on and off the court. If he didn’t the virtues he lives by would stand for nothing.
Rather than complain to his agents, do interviews with Chris Broussard, West kept his mouth shut and weighed up his options. His desire to return to New Orleans was tied into the Chris Paul situation. Without Paul, West could not compete for a championship.
Now the Indiana Pacers get West, in what will be an exciting new Eastern Conference team. West joins familiar the face in Darren Collison as well as Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and Paul George. The Pacers now have a low post scorer who can give you eighteen points a game. Moreover West is the veteran they’ve been dying for who can calm any storm. If Indiana can add some shooting-guard’s then they will be poised to make a playoff run.
We’re all going to miss David. He won’t get his jersey retired in New Orleans, but he sure as hell will be remembered as one of the best to ever wear the creole blue. I’ll miss David and now wish him all the best for the end of his NBA career.