This Father’s Day has an extra special meaning in the Davis family. For the first time, Antonio is watching his daughter live her dream as a professional basketball player, just as he did in the NBA many years ago.
Ahead of the Wings’ game against the Mystics on Sunday, Kaela reflected on the impact her father has had on her basketball career.
“This is a process, and it can be a very difficult one,” she said. “It’s nice coming in as a rookie and being in unfamiliar territory, having someone that’s had that same experience. It might not have gone perfectly, but they’ve learned from it and now they know how to give me information that could potentially help me.”
At the same time, Kaela is determined to catch up to her father in terms of fame.
“I always joke with him, for the longest time I was Antonio Davis’ daughter,” she said with a smile. “But it was my goal in life to make him Kaela Davis’ dad. If anything the pressure is on him, not me.”
When Kaela was selected by Dallas in the first round of this year’s WNBA Draft, Antonio was on hand to support his daughter in New York City. Antonio, now an analyst at ESPN, spent 13 seasons in the NBA while representing the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. He was once named an All-Star during his time with the Raptors.
Kaela said Antonio coached her in basketball for almost the entirety of her childhood.
“I think one thing I appreciated the most, while playing for him, was just the fact that he wasn’t a dad when he coached,” she said. “He wasn’t one of those coaches that would just keep me in the game because I’m his daughter. I got it just as much as everybody else did. So he’s been a super big help in evolving my game and getting to the professional level.”
Kaela is certainly on the path to a successful career of her own. After winning the national title with South Carolina this past season, the rookie guard is averaging about nine points in 21 minutes per game for the Wings. She exploded for 20 points in her regular-season debut as Dallas defeated Phoenix.
Every time she goes out on the court, Kaela’s mindset is to represent the Davis family.
“I remember going to New York, and [Liberty assistant] Herb Williams walks up to me and goes, ‘I swear when your dad played on this floor, it seemed like he had some extra bounce to him,’” Kaela said. “So you hear stories like that, which is awesome. But just to know that he made an impact on others’ lives and he’s memorable in so many people’s eyes is really cool. I hope to one day do the same thing.”