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Anthony Davis shoots down talk that Pelicans fans' anger is based on race

"No. No." Davis said when asked about the accusation. “Not at all.”
Credit: AP
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) in actions against Atlanta Hawks during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis knows he's going go get booed in the Smoothie King Center during his return as a Los Angeles Laker.

He also knows it has nothing to do with his race.

The former New Orleans Pelicans star shot down accusations made by an ESPN writer that Pelicans fans new-found distaste for AD is rooted in racism.

"No. No." Davis said when asked about the accusation. “Not at all.”

 Ramona Shelburne, a senior writer for ESPN.com based in Los Angeles, said in a radio appearance that the booing and jeers from Pelicans fans AD received during his lame-duck season with the Pelicans was because of his and his agent's skin color.

“I think the idea that a black agent was telling, not asking, telling the team, ‘You should trade him,’ and he wasn’t gonna, that did not go over well in New Orleans," Shelburne said. "Especially with, I don’t want to say, ‘That fan base,’ but you’re down in the South, man. This was very charged. And I think that when things get ugly emotionally like that, it’s not just about what’s going on on the court. It’s not just about the moves being made.”

Davis' agent, Rich Paul, is also a black man.

Paul requested the Pelicans trade Davis in January, but the Pelicans did not move the All-Star forward before the trade deadline, hoping they could get a better value in the off season with new management in place.

“All the boos, I understood it,” Davis said.

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After Davis' statement, Shelburne apologized for her comments. 

"Since my appearance on LA radio Tuesday, I've spoken to many people and now realize that I inappropriately oversimplified a very complicated and emotional situation," the statement read. "I sincerely apologize for that mistake and to the city of New Orleans." 

The Pelicans and Lakers tip off in the Smoothie King Center tonight at 8:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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