LOS ANGELES — Just weeks after Anthony Davis was drafted, USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski gave him an amazing gift:
They put Davis on the Team USA roster for the London Olympics.
Everyone knew Davis had the potential to be a franchise-changing, elite, future Hall of Fame level player. It’s why he was a clear No. 1 pick. This gave him a chance to watch and learn from a stacked USA Basketball squad in London — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, James Harden, and so many others — and Davis to this day says he grew and learned a lot from that experience.
Including how to get dressed before a game — because Kobe cussed him out about it. Davis recounted the story Friday night after the Lakers’ first game following Kobe’s untimely death in a helicopter accident.
“We were playing Nigeria, if I remember, and we was winning by 60 or something like that, and I finally got my chance to go in the game,” Davis said. “I was just so happy to be around all these guys, all these future Hall of Famers, that I forgot to put my jersey on before the game.
“So when Coach K called me to get in the game, I go up to the table and I’m about to take my warmup shirt off, and I look down, and it’s just a white T-shirt underneath. So I kinda creep back to the bench and Coach K was like ‘Where you goin’?’ And I kinda whispered to him because I didn’t want these guys to hear me that I forgot my jersey, and I go sit down.
“Kobe got on me, like, I can’t say what he said, but basically like ‘Why you not goin’ in the game, it’s your chance?” And I was like ‘I don’t got my jersey on’ and there’s this picture where he’s kinda looking into my warmup. He said some more things after that.
“So now, before every game, I kinda just check to make sure I got my jersey on to this day. He told me how to get dressed before a game.”
Don’t be surprised if Davis — with his jersey on underneath his warmups — is on the USA Basketball roster this summer in Tokyo. This time, however, he’ll be one of the stars the younger generation looks up to and gets nervous around.