Q&A: Anthony Davis wants to be in your all-time top five

Truth be told, I've known Anthony Davis since he was a sophomore in high school. When he was a 6-foot-2 guard whom a few basketball heads said might be worth keeping an eye on.

But who knew 6-2 would turn into 6-10 in a few short years? Who knew someone could literally go from obscurity to NCAA champion (and Final Four MOP), USA Olympic gold medalist, No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, first-team All-Rookie member, All-Star starter, MVP candidate and future first-team All-NBA in the span of four years? Who knew something was more impossible than impossible?

No one, apparently. Because Davis didn't see this coming either.

Scoop: Five years ago did you see any of what has happened in your life happening to you?

Davis: Not at all. Five years ago I was thinking about quitting basketball.

Scoop: I know! I remember. You sitting around at Perspectives [Charter High School].

Davis: Yeah. Yep. This whole thing has just been a blessing. Growing seven inches in one summer, that kinda put everything over the top where I really started liking basketball and that's when I started going hard and believing I could get to this point. But to be at this point where I'm at this early in my career? Never. I never thought in three years I'd be a two-time All Star, be a two-time gold medalist, I never thought ... I'm only 22 years old, I just turned 22 and accomplished so much, but at the same time accomplished so little.

Scoop: Does it scare you sometimes how fast some of this is happening?

Davis: Honestly, it does. Because, it's just like when you are a kid and you are like 9 years old and you do the like most craziest thing and you love it then it's like, "How do you top that?" How can you top that? That's always my biggest fear. You know? I talk about it with my coach, like, I'm doing all of this in only my third year and guys started double-teaming me and I'm like "All right, what do I do?" How do you still score the ball, put up numbers and be effective when guys are doubling you? But I'm still scoring, so how do I top that now? It always comes to my mind: How can you still be great when guys are still working to be great on the floor? It's tough. That's something I have to figure out. That is what comes with being great. Figuring out how the great ones continued to be great when teams double- and triple-team them. That's what I'm trying to figure out right now.

Scoop: They say the greater you get the larger the target is on you.

Davis: Exactly. Exactly.

Scoop: Here's a question I've always wanted to ask you: What was/is in the water in Chicago when it comes to basketball? How do you have first Derrick Rose [No. 1 draft pick in 2008], then you [No. 1 draft pick in 2012], Jabari [Parker, No. 2 draft pick in 2014] and now Jahlil [Okafor] is probably going to be the No. 1 in June all at basically the same time? That's four of the best players in both high school and college in a seven-year period. One [Rose] already became the youngest MVP in NBA history and now at 22 you are already being considered one of the best players in the game. I don't think that's ever happened in any sport before. Ever. How does one place produce that level of talent basically in such a small period of time?

Davis: I think when it comes to Chicago basketball, guys' mentality is a lot different. Especially when it comes to where we grew up and how we grew up. We care. Every time we step on any court we're going out there to try to dominate the game. So when you see guys like me, Derrick, Jahlil and Jabari, it's a different mindset. You talk to basketball people and one of the first places they mention is Chicago. And that goes back to the Benji [Wilson] and Tim Hardaway days. It goes all of the way back to then.

Scoop: But we're talking about a back-to-back-to-back or whatever run from one city producing the best players in the world.

Davis: That's insane. The ball don't lie though. I mean, when you are that talented ... I mean, you saw what Jabari did at Duke, and what Jahlil is doing, that's just a couple of Chicago basketball boys. We just go out there and compete, play hard. We just got that mentality of relying solely on where we come from and how we live, you know? Our dreams are to go to the league and make an impact on the game. Even when we were all younger we used that as a route to get us out of the quote-unquote "hood." You know, to make sure we can get our families out and provide a better environment for them.

Scoop: It's more than just basketball.

Davis: I think that's how it is. It's not about how big we get; we may never get big, you know, but we're still going to have that mentality with hoopin' because that's how in Chicago we were raised.

Scoop: You all [the Pelicans] are a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the West. But you all have the 14th-best record in the league. There's all of this talk about a possible rearrangement of the playoff seeding system to make it the 16 best teams as opposed to dividing it by conference. Right now, that benefits you all if that system was in effect, so I'm guessing you are in favor of a realignment?

Davis: I like the way it is [now] honestly. I get having the best 16 teams, but that's the thing about having the conferences, especially the Western Conference, you have someone to play every night. I mean, even if they do change it, we're going to go out there and play, regardless. But, like, with us, we're fighting for this eight spot, that kinda forces everybody to be like, "OK, OKC loses, we can't afford to lose" or "OKC won and we gotta win." It gets people on edge. To me just having the top 16 teams takes away the underdog being in the playoffs. It makes it more competitive because you know that 8-seed fought to get in that spot. And now they are coming to try to kill that 1-seed. So I think they should keep it like it is.

Scoop: So you don't feel it's unfair the way it is right now?

Davis: No, not at all. I mean, you can't change how good each team is! That's solely on the general managers and the owners and the coaches. Just because we have the same record as say the best team in the East and we're ninth in the West, understand, we want that challenge. Well, I know I want that challenge. I want that, "OK this is a must[-win] game, let's see if we can go out there and step up and get this win!" Let's see who goes out there and do what they gotta do for their team to get a win. So I like that fight in the end to try to get into the playoffs; that coming down to the wire, one game left, this team has to win, this team has to lose and this team has to tie. I love that! It gives you something to look forward to and you get a more concerted effort from players on the floor.

Scoop: Where is your end game? Meaning, when it is all said and done where do you see yourself being spoken of and about when it comes to your place in the game? Do you even think about where you want to be placed in the end?

Davis: Yeah, I have for sure. Man, this has been my dream since I started playing basketball. I told my Pops, "When I get done playing I want them to ... when they think of basketball I want them to think of Anthony Davis" That's how I want it to be. You know? When they say, "Name your top five of all time," they're going to say "Michael Jordan," because everyone is going to have Michael in their top five, but I want to be in it. I want to be in everyone's top five of all time with no hesitation. That's my goal. Now, it might not happen, it may not be there for me, but that's how I envision playing out my career to get to that level.