The current incarnation of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise has been around since 2002. That means someone my age, a sophomore in college, has grown up their entire life with basketball in the Big Easy.
Despite the team closing in on their 20th season in the NBA, they only recently established their developmental affiliate. Not even around for 3 seasons, the team has already moved and gone under a name change. Formerly the Erie Bayhawks, the franchise relocated this past season to Alabama and will go by the Birmingham Squadron.
Just like every G-League team does before the season, the Squadron held tryouts in hopes they could add talent to their current roster. A list of men with aspirations to play at the next level showed out, but one stood out above the rest.
62-year-old Kelvin Davis, a Hunstville, Alabama native, was of the prospects attempting to earn their spot on the team. Yes, someone the age of a grandfather is trying to play professional basketball. He’s played basketball his entire life and wanted to keep his dreams alive.
Just to put Davis’ age in perspective, he outdates modern professional basketball in New Orleans. The cities first NBA team was dubbed the “Jazz”, and its inaugural season was in 1974. That means Kelvin Davis, who would have been 15 at the time, could have watched the original New Orleans Jazz headlined by stars such as Pete Maravich and Gail Goodrich.
That original team only lasted four years, but Davis is still going strong. He mentioned in an interview that he loves the smile he brings to people’s faces when they see a man of his age play basketball. Davis added: “I like to encourage others. Don’t give up, to keep moving, and press forward.”
He’s stuck true to his word because he hasn’t given up. In 2006, at the riper age of 46, Davis played for the Atlanta Vision in the American Basketball Association. That was over 15 years ago, but the sport remains at the forefront of his life.
As for how he’s doing in the current tryouts, his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. Squadron head coach Ryan Pannone remarked: “He (Davis) is pretty good. He’s grabbing rebounds, directing traffic. What else do you want out of a player who’s passionate?”
Although Davis is unlikely to be throwing lobs to Zion Willaimson in the Smoothie King Center, his story is remarkable nonetheless. I hope Kelvin Davis’ story can inspire anyone who thinks they are too old to chase their dreams.