Brandon Davies is a dedicated elite athlete. The FC Barcelona big man’s combination of athleticism and never-say-die hustle has made him one of the most potent all-around centers in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, evident in his All-EuroLeague First Team selection at the end of last season. But alongside the serious professional, there is a lighter side to Davies’s personality. As well as being a relentlessly focussed and determined competitor, he is also an entertainer.
Off the court, the charismatic aspect of his nature is evident in the hilarious and impressive groomsmen dance he performed at his wedding (with the assistance of his former college teammate and close friend Jimmer Fredette), which became a viral sensation long before he arrived in European basketball. And on the court, Davies’s desire to entertain can be seen in his dazzling and exuberant variety of slam dunks.
Alley-oops, reverses, Statues of Liberty, tomahawks, windmills, put-backs…you name it, Davies has done it. Given a chance to attack the rim, his first priority is to score. But rather than being simply content to score in the most straightforward fashion, he also wants to get his fans on their feet, give his teammates on the sidelines something to cheer, and simply have fun. Davies wants to enjoy himself, express himself, and make a name for himself. And he does it through dunking, as FC Bayern Munich fans saw with his show-stopping reverse slam at the Audi Dome last December.
Watching a few of Davies’s highlight-reel plays from his three seasons in the EuroLeague, it is striking how so few of his dunks are the same. His athletic ability and desire to entertain have resulted in a wide range of finishes at the rim – especially when he has the chance to attack the hoop without defenders getting in the way on a fastbreak or after a steal (often one of his own), such as this spectacular windmill slam in Barcelona’s home win over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul earlier this season.
That doesn’t mean Davies can only score when he’s left wide open. His competitive nature means he is perfectly happy to mix it up with other big bodies where it hurts, as shown by his dunk-and-one against Panathinaikos in Athens in February, when he hooked up on the pick and roll with Malcolm Delaney, took contact from Ioannis Papapetrou but still threw down a fierce one-handed rim-rocker. There were also some huge plays in traffic last season for Zalgiris, such as an explosive put-back over Arturas Gudaitis in a home meeting with AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, and an even more eye-catching one-handed dunk against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, when Davies took off from the outside the semi-circle to finish in the face of the luckless Zanis Peiners.
In short, it doesn’t matter how you prefer your dunks. However you want it, Brandon Davies has got it. Because he’s more than just a sportsman; he’s also an entertainer.