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SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Hard Work Pays Off

As a power forward and center, Halifax County native Terry Davis forged a successful 10-year pro basketball career in the NBA. The 6-10 Davis played a total of 480 games during his career, which included stints with the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets.

While playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Davis finished 15th overall in the NBA in rebounding for the 1991-92 season with an average of 9.3 rebounds per game. He ranks on the Dallas Mavericks’ all-time rebounding list with 1,720 boards.

His best season was the 1992-93 season with the Dallas Mavericks, a season in which he averaged 12.7 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game.

While Davis had the ability to put a good number of points on the scoreboard, as evidenced by his 35-point performance against Atlanta in November, 1992, he was best known as a hard-nosed defensive player and rebounder.

“I had to play my role,” Davis explained.

“I could put it into the bucket. It wasn’t like I couldn’t. I was fortunate enough to be able to play with very good offensive players to where I didn’t have to do anything but rebound and play defense. It took a lot of pressure off of me. It made my job easier because I didn’t have to do everything.”

Davis said he felt his willingness to rebound and play tough defense would lead to better job security.

“I thought my way of keeping a job was to do something that a lot of guys didn’t want to do,” Davis pointed out.

“That was doing the dirty work - rebounding, boxing out and taking charges. A lot of guys didn’t want to do that. A lot of guys just wanted to focus on scoring. I always felt that you can’t score if you don’t get the ball.

“That’s the same thing I’m trying to instill in my son, Ed (University of North Carolina basketball standout Ed Davis),” added Davis.
“I tell him to basically focus on rebounding and playing good defense.”

Davis had a good run in the NBA, concluding his career in the 2001 season with the Denver Nuggets. There are times when Davis wishes his playing career could have run a little longer. He is truly grateful for the 10 years that he enjoyed in professional basketball.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I would get one year out of the business,” Davis remarked.

“It was just a blessing from God to get 10 years out of it. God made it all possible. I had the talent, but coming out of Virginia Union I thought that if I got one year out of it, I will have lived a dream. The wheels kept on turning, and teams kept having an interest in me, and God kept making a way.

“It was a blessing from God to get the opportunity to live a childhood dream,” Davis continued.

“It’s something that I had always wanted to do as a child. I think that by being obedient to mom and being obedient to God, God blessed me with the opportunity to play on that level.”

Davis had a good basketball career at Halifax County High School. He was a starter in both the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons under Coach John Crittenden. In his senior year, Davis was the Comets’ top rebounder and second leading scorer. He was named to the Second Team of the All-Western District Team that season.

At Virginia Union, Davis played under Head Coach Dave Robbins. He started for three seasons and averaged 22.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game in his senior season there.

“My high school coach, John Crittenden, made me understand what the game of basketball was about,” Davis said.

“He gave me the love for it, the passion for it, showed me what it takes to work hard and showed that there is a reward from working hard. I left him and went to Virginia Union and played for Coach Robbins. Both of them made basketball fun for me. They put me in a position to make the game enjoyable and make the game easy for me. I appreciate those coaches for giving me that passion and giving me that love for the game.”

While his coaches provided valuable knowledge and tools he would need to be successful on the court, Davis gives the real credit for his success to his parents and to his life on a Halifax County farm.

“My mom and dad taught us hard work,” Davis explained.

“We came from that part of the country where people worked hard. I learned that nobody was going to give you anything and that you have to work hard for everything that you try to accomplish.

“Just having that background, coming from those tobacco fields and chopping wood, teaches you life lessons that you try to put onto the basketball court. Basketball was the easy part.”

Davis’ success on the basketball court has led to him being one of four individuals who will be inducted into the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall Of Fame during Saturday night’s 22nd annual inductions banquet.

“I feel truly excited, honored and privileged that the committee would even take the time to choose me to be one of the candidates,” Davis said of the honor.

“There are a lot of great people who have been selected to be in the Hall Of Fame. I appreciate that many of those great people like Willie Lanier and others paved the road and opened the door for people like myself. It’s an honor just to be in the same company with those people.”