Mothers always tell their kids not to play in the streets. So why does Glen Davis constantly step into oncoming traffic?
Davis is having his best year with the Boston Celtics. He’s the leader of the second unit as a valuable backup to PF Kevin Garnett and C Shaquille O’Neal. He’s earned the right to be on the floor to close out games.
Davis has developed a consistent mid-range jumper to go with his rugged post game. He’s averaging career highs in minutes played, points, rebounds, assists and steals.
What’s not listed is Davis’ most impressive number, charges taken. According to the Celtics’ unofficial tally, Glen “Big Baby” Davis has 26 charges taken this season. He added three to his total against Denver Wednesday night.
It takes a lot of guts to step in the way of an oncoming player, often coming at full speed, and just stand there to absorb the full force of a player attacking the rim. To do it over and over again takes an inordinate amount of courage and sacrifice. But no matter how much it hurts, Davis instinctively rotates towards the charging player and waits for the pain.
Not every player is willing to take a charge. A lot of players lack the toughness to repeatedly face approaching danger. You can tell the difference between the ones that have the heart and the ones that don’t. If they brace for impact and turn their head away, they don’t have it.
The player that stands in full surrender—taking the impact with the body and not with the arms—are the ones willing to sacrifice their bodies for the sake of the team. Davis is in that category. Don’t let the nickname fool you. It takes a tough man to take charges repeatedly.
Davis doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to take charges. He’s mastered how to take a charge. It takes great anticipation to know when to leave his man at the last moment. Davis gets to the spot before the offensive player by using his quick feet that belies a player his size. And Big Baby always stands just outside the half circle before the rim.
Like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, Davis does his best work when he ends up staring up at 17 banners.
For his sacrifice, Davis gets nothing from the league. The statistician marks a charge as a mere turnover for the offending team.
But a charge is much more than that. A charge is counted as a foul and it can take away a player’s or team’s aggression as fouls add up.
A charge can shift the momentum of the game. Taking a charge is more than just preventing two points.
Since the NBA won’t acknowledge charges taken, the Celtics should do something to recognize Davis for his sacrifices. If college football teams can award helmet stickers, the Celtics should award Davis with a decal for every charge taken. A sneaker print seems appropriate, since a charge is like getting run over. They don’t have to affix them to Big Baby’s head. Secure them to a headband for all to see.
Do it quick, though. At the pace Davis is going at, he’s gonna need a second headband soon.
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