Baton Rouge native Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis on his hometown
The NBA free agent/former Clipper and Celtic says, ‘You don’t see a lot of whites.’
NBA champion Glen “Big Baby” Davis watched the death of his “neighborhood friend,” Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5 after two cellphone videos captured two officers and Sterling engaged in a dispute. Then, Davis and the rest of the nation watched on Facebook Live as Philando Castile, 32, of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, bled out in his car the very next day. On July 7, five police officers were killed and seven were wounded in Dallas by a sniper. On Sunday, three Baton Rouge police officers were killed by a lone gunman.
Davis is a Baton Rouge native and attended Louisiana State University, where he was a scholarship basketball player. An eight-year veteran of the NBA, he was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics with the No. 35 overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NBA draft and then traded to the Boston Celtics. He won a championship with Boston in his rookie season and played with the team for four seasons. He then played three seasons for the Orlando Magic and two with Los Angeles Clippers. In his career, he has recorded 4,111 points, 2,236 rebounds, 457 assists and 357 steals.
Davis discussed his friendship with Sterling, what the police and community’s relationship is like and what his mother told him about how to interact with police. In that same interview, Davis discussed the color barrier and aggressions that led up to those incidents. Here are his additional comments.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a really tough environment to grow up in … some parts. You gotta think about … what they’re trying to do with the city of Baton Rouge. It’s the police officers that have to kind of clean up the streets, because of the direction Baton Rouge is trying to head to. When you talk about an area like [where Alton Sterling was killed], where there’s drugs and there’s violence, police are a little bit more aggressive over there. They’re a little bit more the instigators. I feel like being … a police officer there, you have to be an instigator to strike fear, or make them scared of you. That area is just a tough area.
The police and the community, they’re really at war with each other. The police are trying to keep [people] at ease, or keep them at a distance, or at peace, but at the same time, they’re forcing the people into situations where they’re fearful … They’re having personal grudges with officers because [officers are] just abusing their authority. So it’s like a crazy mix-up of things, because the people want more leniency toward situations, and the police are just trying to make sure it doesn’t get crazy. That area is kind of tough, especially with the color barrier.
I honestly think police officers need more training, and need to be more hands-on with the community so they can kind of understand situations, so it won’t go to that level. In that part of the neighborhood, you don’t see a lot of whites. At that store, you don’t see a lot of white people pulling up … and getting something. I think that the mayor, Kip Holden, is beefing up the streets because of what they’re trying to do for the economy. It’s part of downtown, when you think about it. That Fairfield, Gus Young Avenue, 44th area is the last part of downtown, so they’re trying to make a difference. I just think they’re doing it the wrong way.