0

Davis' basketball dreams are alive and well

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

You're never too old to pursue your dreams.

Just ask Kelvin Davis.

At an age where most athletes have long given up their weekly pick-up basketball game at the playground or local gym, Davis still has a desire to collect a paycheck as a professional basketball player in the NBA.

And he's not too far from his 50th birthday.

Later this month, Davis will have the chance to show off his basketball skills when he heads to Los Angles for a pre-draft tryout with the NBA Developmental League.

He hopes he impresses scouts with his ability to shoot and rebound, two of the traits that stick out when he takes the court.

"The call came this week that I had been invited to the tryout and I am thrilled." Davis said.

Davis is no stranger to professional basketball. The ramp agent for Delta Airlines has spent the last two years playing for the Atlanta Vision of the ABA.

"It was a good experience (playing with the Vision)," Davis said. "I got a chance to get some playing time. Things worked out very well."

He made his mark on that league in his late 40s, but quickly turned skepticism and doubt into respect from his fellow players.

Those who spend time with Davis know this isn't a publicity stunt.

Dorian Lee, his personal trainer at Hoops and Fitness in Jonesboro, isn't surprised Davis is getting the chance to still pursue his basketball dreams.

"He has true passion for the game," Lee said. "He is so energetic. So often now, we have a new breed of youth, they play the game for various reasons, but very few play it for the love, he plays it for the love, nobody is making him do it."

Davis had some adjustments to make when he first started playing with the Vision, but he quickly showed he could hold his own against younger players.

"It was challenging at first," he said. "Once you get the old legs warmed up, it was good. The one thing I had, was the respect of the other players, when they see me coming, they say 'wait a minute, this can't be true', but once they toss it up and the game begins, they see I can play."

Davis' basketball roots go back more than 30 years when he was a high school player at Evergreen, Ala. He was one of the state's best, averaging 21 points and eight rebounds per game.

His high school resume led him to Jefferson Davis Junior College then on to Alabama State.

From there, Davis came to Atlanta, started a family, began working, but never lost passion for the game.

If there was a pick-up game in the area, Davis was probably involved.

"People used to come up to me and tell me I was good enough to play pro ball," he said.

Those dreams were put on the backburner for decades until about three years ago when he earned a tryout with the Atlanta Vision of the newly formed ABA.

Davis not only turned heads with his ability to play against players much younger, he has been on the team the last two years.

The 49-year-old basketball player has fun with being the oldest man on the court.

"I always hear remarks from other teams or the stands from people yelling' how old are you," he said.

Lee says Davis is in great shape and defies Father Time.

"Things tend to leave you with age," Lee said. "For me, I am still athletic just like him, but you have to find other ways to be a better player, and what suprises me by him is, his conditioning is so great, that he can sustain."

According to Lee, people who hear Davis' story can't help but be inspired.

"He's amazing, he's in here doing the wind sprints, and the shooting, playing the games, I am defintely, impressed."

Ebone' Campbell serves as Davis' agent, but admits she had her doubts at first. Then she saw him play.

"In the beginning, I was like whatever," she said. "Then I saw him tryout and play, and I was very impressed."

Campbell, who works with Blaxxx Entertainment Group, is confident Davis hasn't written the final chapter of his amazing story.

"I just see it as a step closer," she said. "I just think it is going to happen. Kelvin is a man of fath. He's kept a good attitude when people did laugh at him."

Should Davis land on an NBA roster one day, he would be the oldest player ever to lace up sneakers on professional basketball's biggest stage.

Davis trek to a possible spot in the NBA has landed national attention.

He has already appeared on CNN and his story has caught the attention of producers at Good Morning America.

There's a documentary in the works, and there has been talks about bringing his story to life with a movie.

Davis knows he's living a dream that those much younger envy.

He also knows, none of it would be possible without his strong Christian faith.

He doesn't apologies for it either.

"Faith, that's the biggest reason this is possible," he said.

He also gives back to the community, serving as a spokesperson for the Taylor-Richards Foundation, an oraganziation, dedicated to creating postitive change in 7-19 year olds.

Davis also leans on his family for support.

His son Princeton is the second generation basketball player in the family, currently playing for Fayette County High School. Kelvin, Jr, Kendon, Terrance, and daughter Danielle are also his biggest fans.

"I love being able to put hope back in somebody else's eyes," Davis said.

People I come in contact with, they realize, I am not giving up on my dream, so maybe they won't either."