Nba playoffs how david west’s time in new orleans shaped his career, philanthropy electricity 101 episode 1

“’D-West, what do you got for us today?’” Warriors forward Draymond Green has often asked on the team plane. Green jokingly remembered West once answered, “the Earth is off three centimeters.” Other times, West has addressed more practical topics.

West has offered lesson plans on the hardwood, ranging from dietary and training tips. He also has told life stories, sharing insight on racial and political issues stemming from what he has read as an avid history buff and experienced as a well-traveled philanthropist.

“It’s presenting the best of myself to the world, to those who are around me and those I feel like I can help educate,” West said in an interview with The Bay Area News Group. “I try to use the game of basketball to teach, educate, help enlighten and help provide clarity.”

It seems fitting the Warriors will be here this week for Games 3 (Friday) and 4 (Sunday) of the NBA Western Conference semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans. With West striving for what he calls the “pursuit of constant clarity,” his journey continuously traces back this city.

After the former New Orleans Hornets selected him with the 18th pick in the 2003 NBA draft, West eventually became a two-time All-Star through eight seasons (2003-11). After witnessing the damage that Hurricane Katrina left in this region over a decade ago, West has become emboldened to help those directly impacted by racial and social inequality.

Want real-time Warriors news texted to your phone? Sign up for Mark Medina’s private text messaging service. Golden State Warriors’ David West talks to the media after practice in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) Maintaining longevity

The first lesson West learned: how to thrive and survive in the NBA. He entered the NBA hoping he would last 10 years, but feared he would not. Instead, West, 37, has reached his 15th season and could possibly go beyond should he remain healthy when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.

Even before becoming a wise veteran, West prioritized his dietary, training and sleeping habits. While he listened to and obeyed his trainers, he continuously asked questions to maximize recovery. He took up boxing to maximize his hand-eye coordination, footwork and conditioning. He valued offseason rest to recharge before resuming workouts to avoid rustiness. He has cut out sugar.

West canned mid-range jumpers with dependable accuracy. He posted up by using his bruising 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame. After running pick-and-rolls seamlessly a decade ago in New Orleans with Chris Paul, West has done the same with the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala. West has defended with such intensity that Green observed, “He never has backed down from a challenge in his life.”

“I knew he was a very competitive guy, but I really found out how competitive he was when I made that assignment change,” Scott said. “It showed me a different side of him. He was ready to play defense. He wasn’t taking the easy way out. From my standpoint, it allowed me to challenge him even more as we went on with matchups.”

It appeared West could take on any challenge. But in Game 6 of the 2008 Western Conference semifinals against San Antonio, former Spurs forward Robert Horry set a hard screen that those around West still consider dirty. That play aggravated West’s existing back injury and almost made it debilitating.

Though that marked the end of his time in New Orleans, West has not had a major injury since then. He remained a starter in Indiana (2011-15) until willingly sacrificing that role and opting out of a $12.6 million player option. He then signed veteran’s minimum deals with San Antonio (2015-16) and the Warriors (2016) trying to fulfill loftier championship goals. Although West said he will not decide his future until this offseason, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has said in a half-joking, half-serious tone that he wants West to play for three more years.

“I enjoy watching that dude do anything — lift weights, put shots up, eat his breakfast in the breakfast room. Everything is intense,” Curry said, laughing. “He does everything strong. He does everything purposeful. It’s amazing to be around a kind of guy like that where the switch is always on.” Golden State Warriors forward David West (3) and guard Klay Thompson (11) react toward their bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Related Articles

So, West and some teammates immediately flew to nearby Baton Rouge to help. They worked with food trucks to distribute meals. They went to shelters to deliver care packages. West visited nearby Mississippi to offer the same support. As the former Hornets temporarily played in Oklahoma City (2005-07), West and others vouched for the franchise to move back to New Orleans in hopes it could help with rebuilding efforts. He has continued to sponsor families in New Orleans affected by Katrina.

West became avidly interested in African American history and social justice issues when he attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia, and played for four years at Xavier (1999-2003). But West had a sharpened perspective after seeing how New Orleans’ rebuild stalled.

“It wasn’t specific to just the black community and the Gulf region. All the poor people down there took a major hit. Sometimes and in a lot of cases, the home is all they had,” West said. “You have a lot of people starting from scratch and that’s a sobering feeling. But you also realize people have a lot of pride. People don’t just want you handing them money. They don’t just want you making them a charity case. They wanted to participate in their own rescue.”

West and his brother, Dwayne, organize an AAU basketball team in Garner, North Carolina, as well as summer basketball clinics in various countries in Africa. West’s charity, the West Group, has awarded college scholarships for more than 400 low-income students in North Carolina. And he has helped furbish basketball courts in Ghana, Senegal and Gambia.

During one of his annual trips to Ghana in 2016, West ran into Jerome Ringo, the founder and chairman of Zoetic Energy, a renewable-energy company. Then, the two had a three-hour conversation that Ringo called a “divine meeting.” After that conversation, West joined the company’s advisory board and invested $250,000. West has met with government officials in Ghana during the 2017 offseason and spoke at the African Union headquarters in Addis Adaba, Ehtiopia, during the NBA All-Star break.

“Energy, electricity and clean water deficits that existed for most parts of the world aren’t going to fix themselves. So people need to engage and figure out ways to help,” West said. “The fact that there are billions of people that haven’t experienced electricity yet is beyond me. The generation of electricity helps stabilize lives.”