LeBron James hails Anthony Davis

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Saturday, December 13, 2014

NEW ORLEANS -- Before the Cleveland Cavaliers played the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season, LeBron James spoke about Anthony Davis in the context of today's game.

"I think he's one of the elite players right now," James said last month. "If he continues to stay healthy like he's been doing and continues to keep growing, he can be a superstar in our league for sure."

Friday, James spoke about Davis' place in the context of the history of the game.

"For him to be as young as he is, he plays above his age and that's part of the reason he can continue and probably be one of the greats to play this game," James said of the 21-year-old Pelicans big man.

Davis, who left Friday's game against the Cavs in the first quarter with a chest contusion and did not return, was averaging 25.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.0 steals per game entering the night.

"He's been spectacular in every facet of the game this year and whatever you ask of him to do -- for this franchise, for this team -- I've seen him soak up everything," said James, who paired with Davis to win a gold medal for USA Basketball in London in 2012. "Being around a bunch of veterans on our Olympic team, he was just like a sponge around myself,Kobe (Bryant), CP (Chris Paul), Melo (Carmelo Anthony) and everybody. He was just soaking up all the information he could from (Kevin) Durantand everybody."

Despite his gaudy averages just three seasons into his career, Davis told ESPN's Mark Schwarz after Pelicans shootaround Friday that he didn't feel like he had "accomplished anything" in the league so far and was undeserving of being ranked with the likes of James and Durant as the NBA's top players.

"It means he was brought up the right way," James said of Davis' humble response to the attention he's been receiving -- including a recent "Sports Illustrated" cover story. "He comes from a great family, which I know as well, and he just respects the game. He's humbled to be in this position. He has zero sense of entitlement, and that's how you have to be in this league. You have to earn everything. Nothing is given. And he's taking that really seriously."

James' ties to Davis' college coach, John Calipari of Kentucky, are well documented. That Calipari connection established a rapport between "The King" and "The Brow" years ago.

"Our relationship is really, really good," James said. "I've been knowing him since he was in high school. I've been in communication with him since he was in high school. So, I call myself like a big brother or a father of these young guys. It's great to see him succeed."

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