IN MY OWN WORDS: Brandon Davies

IN MY OWN WORDS: Brandon Davies

Barça basketball star writes exclusively to the fans via about his first few months in Barcelona and what will be the third Clásico of the season

This Sunday will be the third Clásico of the season and the first in front of our fans. It’ll be very special because the Palau always gives us loads of support and the culés have made me feel welcome from the very first day. We’re preparing for the game with the big target of getting our first win against them this season. Life has taught me that you need to fight and give everything you can at all times.

That’s why I’m enjoying my day-to-day so much in Barcelona, a magnificent city with awesome food and very friendly people who have treated me kindly since the day I arrived. It was July 4 and I came on a direct flight from Uganda, where I was playing for the national team, to spend my first day at Barça. What a day! I could feel the warmth of the fans and children on the Palau court.

Davies on the day of his presentation as a Barça player - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

Since then all I have been doing is work to meet the team targets. I like talking about improvement with the coach and not losing the work ethic, and I stay behind after training to practice my shooting. We have some great players, but what I appreciate most is that they are great people who are always there to help you. We know that names don’t win trophies, we all have to be as one. The one I share the most feelings and comments about moves, plays and actions in games is Nikola Mirotic, what a great guy. He always has time for everyone.

You call me Ramb0, I like that name, it’s funny. Who’d have thought when one of the staff gave me that nickname in the preseason that so many people would end up calling me that? I think it’s a cool name because I identify with that alter ego when it comes to a constant fighting spirit.

Brandon Davies about to dunk against Fenerbahce Istanbul at the Palau Blaugrana - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
Brandon Davies en una esmaixada contra el Fenerbahce Istanbul al Palau Blaugrana - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

I didn’t have an easy childhood and it was my mom who taught me to always be a fighter. I was born in Philadelphia and when I was two days old, my biological mom, who was just 16 at the time and who I know nothing of since, gave me over for adoption to my mother, Linda Kathleen. I only know my biological mom by name, but at the end of the day she did the best thing for my life.

A recently born Brandon Davies
Davies amb pocs dies de vida

Linda is a supermom. She’s given everything to me and for my sister and brother, who are adopted too. She travelled from Utah to Philadelphia to sign the adoption papers and then we went back to Provo (Utah), about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, which is where I grew up. A year before coming to get me, Linda had adopted another boy, Stephen, who died. She felt her family was incomplete and adopted me. She never gave up.  

Linda Kathleen, with Brandon Davies and his brother and sister
Linda Kathleen, with Brandon Davies and his brother and sister

My sister Heather and brother Shawn are older than me and were born in India. The family photos are funny because I’m so much taller than them. I’m 6 foot 10, and they’re 4 foot 11 and 5 foot 7. People sometimes stare at us in the street, but I love my family. We meet up a lot, my mom usually comes on vacation with my sister or when they can fit it in with work. I love spending time talking to them, even when we aren’t doing anything special. We call my mom after every game if it’s not too late. She especially loves listening to her grandchildren.

But, did you know it was soccer that I played first?

I started soccer at Provo. We had a good team and I was much taller than my team-mates and pretty quick. After tryouts, I went to play for Utah Rangers FC. But I ended up giving up soccer because I was much taller than the rest of the team and was losing my pace. And I was getting tired of soccer, I was moved from striker to goalie and I got bored between the posts. All my friends were playing basketball so I joined the team where my friends played. I got dropped from the first team, but instead of giving up basketball I started working real hard. Every summer I did my best to catch up with the other players.

Brandon Davies in his time at Provo
Brandon Davies en la seva etapa a Provo

And so I developed as a player and got better and better. Although I wasn’t picked in the 2013 NBA Draft, my chance in the NBA would come with the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. But they were day contracts and that put a lot of pressure on me. So coming to European basketball was a new challenge, I was uneasy because it was my first experience abroad. I developed as a player and gained European experience with Élan Chalon (France), Pallacanestro Varese (Italy) and Monaco.

Brandon Davies up against Pierre Oriola in the 2017/18 season - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
Brandon Davies defendiendo Pierre Oriola la temporada 2017/18 - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

After playing in different leagues and countries I got the chance to go to Zalgiris with Sarunas Jasikevicius as coach. Those were two incredible years and my game improved thanks to being surrounded by such good players. Saras is a true pro, and he spoke very highly of Barcelona. It’s a spectacular city. And the Turó Parc neighborhood where I live with my wife and kids is very quiet.

Barcelona also taught me about soccer thanks to such a great team as FC Barcelona. I was like a kid enjoying the Barça vs Borussia Dortmund game at Camp Nou a few weeks ago. I practice the Mormon religion. Here in Barcelona there is a nice place to go to worship when it doesn’t clash with games.

Brandon Davies with his wife Lenzie - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
Brandon Davies amb la seva dona Lenzie - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

I met my wife, Lenzie, in Provo. We had friends in common. She’s one of the reasons for my success. I cannot lie, she also played a big part in the decision to sign for Barça. I got other offers, but the call from Nacho Rodriguez to tell me about the program and what an important part I could play in it was what convinced me. And my wife liked the idea of this city. As they say, "Happy wife, happy life." And we have two lovely kids who come to games whenever they can and play with the other players’ kids.

Another thing I like to do is look after my body. I have the same routine before every game. Before home games I like to eat pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast. I always get to the Palau early to stretch properly and do a good warm-up with my headphones on. I listen to hip hop, or rap like Drake, reggae like Bob Marley and a mixture of different styles. It makes me feel alone in the pavilion.

La música sempre acompanya Brandon Davies abans de cada partit - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
La música sempre acompanya Brandon Davies abans de cada partit - VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB

When the game is done I use recovery machines on the way home, and ice too. We play a lot of games over the season, and although some of my team-mates tease me about it, I always want to keep in the best shape. Every day is a challenge for me. And I’m learning Spanish now too with different mobile apps. I want to learn Catalan once I’m more or less fluent at Spanish, because they tell me they’re similar. 

I never like to lose sight of my beginnings.

I see myself as simple man, a husband and father first, and a basketball player second.

¡Vamos Barça, vamos Palau!

Força Barça
Força Barça

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