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Ex-Clipper Baron Davis Talks Growing Up in South LA

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Updated 11/9 9:50 pm. A lot of you out there are probably really suffering from the ongoing lack of an NBA season, especially given the tough ending to the 2010-11 season for your Los Angeles Lakers. To assuage your grief (or salt your wound, depending on your attitude), the Land O' Lakers blog on ESPN.com is running a series about NBA players growing up in Los Angeles, called The LA in My Game (although some of the NBA players are from the burbs--Darren Collison, for instance, is from Rancho Cucamonga). The blog dedicated a two-part interview to one of LA's most famous local ballers, Baron Davis, currently of the Clippers and formerly of UCLA and South LA update. Update: Davis was traded from the Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Davis is well known for his continued connection to LA, having grown up with his grandparents near Manchester Blvd. and San Pedro and attending high school with Kate Hudson and Cash Warren at Crossroads in Santa Monica.

Davis discusses at length the lack of mobility he had as a kid growing up in Florence. He says "Where I'm from, you don't really travel outside your neighborhood unless you're traveling with a bunch of people. To go play at a Westchester Park or Raleigh Park, you would have to know somebody over there. And plus, you just don't leave your neighborhood, you know what I mean? If you leave your neighborhood, you better know somebody or you better be going somewhere looking for some trouble. When I was young, it was like that. 'This is our neighborhood. This is our park. This is our court. And we're gonna stick to this.'"

And even though Davis was a Lakers fan living just on the other side of the 110, the Fabulous Forum (where the Lakers used to play, for those of you too young or too recently transplanted to remember where Big Game James used to operate) might as well have been on Catalina Island: "How was I gonna get to Inglewood to get to The Forum? That was not even remotely possible. Inglewood was like a foreign country. I didn't know how close The Forum was until I started traveling out of the neighborhood. It seemed like a million miles away and seemed like a place that I was never, ever get invited to or have an opportunity to go. There were no opportunities for a kid like me growing up."

All this urban planning talk got us thinking about a UCLA Dream Team: put Davis on stage with our favorite member of the UCLA faculty, parking maestro Donald Shoup, and let them talk about mobility. Davis is free until next fall; let's make it happen. In the mean time, Part II of the Davis interview just hit the internet today.
· "The L.A. in my Game," with Baron Davis: Part I [ESPN.com]
· "The L.A. in my Game," with Baron Davis, Part II [ESPN.com]
· Shoup, There It Is! Parking Guru Makes the Times [Curbed LA]