Anthony Davis Says Racism Isn't Why Pels Fans Booed; Ramona Shelburne Apologizes

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) moves around New Orleans Pelicans guard Kenrich Williams (34) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis told reporters on Wednesday night that he didn't believe the booing he faced in New Orleans last season was rooted in racism.  

"No. No," Davis replied when asked if he thought his race played a part in the fan reaction to his public request for a trade, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. "Not at all."

Davis was asked about the topic after ESPN's Ramona Shelburne suggested on ESPN LA's Mason & Ireland show that the fan backlash last season to Davis' desire to be traded had racist undertones (h/t Clark):

"Part of the reason why New Orleans didn't want to trade him for so long is because they couldn't get fair value for him. But I think the idea that a black agent was telling, not asking, telling the team, 'You should trade him,' and he wasn't gonna, that did not go over well in New Orleans. Especially with, I don't want to say, 'That fan base,' but you're down in the South, man. This was very charged. And I think that when things get ugly emotionally like that, it's not just about what's going on on the court. It's not just about the moves being made."

Shelburne later apologized for her comments.

"Since my appearance on L.A. radio Tuesday, I've spoken to many people and now realize that I inappropriately oversimplified a very complicated and emotional situation," she said in a statement emailed to NOLA.com. "I sincerely apologize for that mistake and to the city of New Orleans."

Davis returned to New Orleans for the first time since being traded to the Lakers this summer and was met with the same boos he often faced last season:

The superstar big man responded by going for 41 points, nine rebounds, three steals and a block in the Lakers' 114-110 win. 

"Obviously, the emotions was high," Davis said after the win, per the Associated Press. "I think this game was circled on both calendars. And they came out guns blazing and we were able to come out with the win."

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