It has been almost a year and a half since Anthony Davis landed in Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. He has already won a championship and has formed a terrifying partnership with LeBron James.
Coming off his best performance of the season, Davis spoke to Sports Illustrated about appearing in first Super Bowl commercial alongside Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Alex Morgan and Brook Koepka with Michelob; the NBA season; and Kobe Bryant.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Sports Illustrated: How do you decide which brands you want to work with?
Anthony Davis: My team brings me these partnerships and ask me about them. I really try to get the ones that hits home with me. When they brought me Michelob and they wanted to do a Super Bowl commercial—the slogan “do you win because you are happy? Or are you happy because you win?” I felt like that is something that I live by, especially everything that went on two seasons ago in New Orleans than getting traded to the Lakers. I felt like I got a fresh start. I was super happy and by me being happy I was able to have some success and win an NBA championship.
SI: You have been part of the Lakers organization for almost a year and half. Won a championship. What makes the culture so special?
AD: Winning mindset. The organization just wants to win and they will build the right players around you and they make sure they do everything they can to make sure you successful. With us, even when were in the bubble, it was different for us. That is when I knew this was a great organization. They made sure we had everything we needed. Jeanie Buss and Linda Rambis made sure we had everything to help us focus on basketball and outside of that they made sure our families were O.K. in L.A. so we can focus on basketball and bring that championship back to L.A. That’s when I realized this was a great organization and a place I definitely wanted to be.
SI: How is the experience playing this season compared with the bubble? Which one do you prefer more?
AD: I want to say it is the same but the only difference was that the bubble arena was so much smaller, so you couldn’t tell there was no fans. You know it was the court and then you got the video screens and it was like, O.K., we are just here to playing basketball—where at the arenas here, for the respective teams, they are so huge, so now you know you are in an NBA arena with no fans and it’s a little different and weird. You were always playing on the same court for every game. It’s good to go back on the road and have road games and things like that. So it is a little better to play in a different arena from time to time. Honestly we just go out there and play basketball. When we are on the court, we don’t see anything else, we don’t hear anything else, we just go out there and compete at the highest level and try to win.
SI: We are approaching a year since we lost Kobe. You had that moment in the playoffs when you hit a game-winner and shouted “Kobe!” How did he inspire you?
AD: Man, he inspired me so much. He was a big brother to me. Even when I was going through some of the stuff in New Orleans with the trade and even before that, he would call me and text me about things and he would help me with that whole process. He inspired me to be great player and he was an all-around great guy. Everyone loved him. It’s about to be a year, and you still can’t get over the fact that he is still not here. It still kind of hits home, especially for us since it is the organization he played at for 20 years. The day after we are going to be in the city where it all happened, it is just going to bring back memories. You try to forget the bad memories and keep the good ones. He inspired our entire organization and the entire city of Los Angeles. I am pretty sure he inspired every single basketball player that has ever played the game but not just in the league but all around the world. He meant so much to everyone. We definitely miss him a lot.