As part of our Jordan Classic coverage, Finish Line polled 10 of the finest up-and-coming players in America about what it means to them to play in the game that bears Michael Jordan’s name, among other topics. Today, the spotlight belongs to elite guards Dwayne Bacon and Eric Davis.
Inspired by his uncle/mentor, Davis plays on both ends with a real chip on his shoulder. Davis averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and six steals this year for Saginaw Arthur Hill in Michigan. A Texas Longhorns commit, Davis was third on the East team with 14 points in the Jordan Classic.
First off, tell me about your Uncle Tony and how he pushes you.
He challenges me mentally. He sets goals for me, as far as things I need to work on. Like, steals: He’ll say, ‘Let’s get five steals a game.’ So in the first half, I would maybe get like one steal, and second half, he’ll be like, ‘You’re four short!’ Just little things like that to challenge me and get me going to push myself. If you can go in and challenge yourself mentally, even if you come up short that’s the mindset you need to develop, to do things you don’t normally do, like get 20 rebounds. Physically, he said, ‘You’ll be there, you’ve got the skill set.’ But mentally, he likes to train my mind.
Hearing about that, it reminded me a lot of Michael Jordan, how he would almost create goals and obstacles out of thin air.
Yeah, I picked that up along the way. Like yesterday, my goal was to be the best defensive player at practice. All of us here can score; I just want to be the best defender, and I think I was! Now today, it’s the same goal, but I’m adding to it: I want to knock down four jump shots, add a couple more steals. So I’m over there adding goals in my head to prepare myself for practice.
What are you looking to show people when you play against competition this good?
I want to show my all-around game. I want people to know me as a defensive stopper. Everyone just can’t shoot the ball, somebody’s got to play defense. I want to be one of those guys that’s locking down, that’s going to keep me on the floor.
What sets this apart from other games is Jordan is actually here, spending time around the players. What does he mean to you?
He revolutionized basketball. When I think of Michael Jordan, I think of the greatest player who ever played. He just inspires me, and it’s not just what he did offensively. His mental approach on everything was just, I’m going to dominate in every aspect of the game, not just one. That really intrigued me. It showed me that if I can get that mindset, maybe I can be one of the greatest. Why not me? If he can do it, I can.
People overlook his mental approach, but I think that was the best part of his game, honestly. He was just so tough; when he was fatigued, he just willed through it and carried his team. That’s just one of those things I’m just learning, and I’m striving to have a mental game as tough as his.
He’s also known for his sneakers. Do you have a favorite Air Jordan?
Yeah, I’d probably say the 6’s. They’re pretty nice, and they’re comfortable to hoop in.