While he hasn't played an NBA game since suffering a serious knee injury in 2012, Baron Davis remains a prominent figure in basketball circles. Davis is currently traveling the country to promote his new documentary on the Drew League and settling in for yet another basketball comeback. One of the many off-the-court initiatives Davis is involved in is NBA Green Week, which runs from March 22-29 and promotes eco-friendly living. Davis spoke with SI.com about the event and also weighed in on his UCLA Bruins, L.A. basketball, Russell Westbrook and more.
SI.com: Can you explain your involvement in NBA Green Week?
Davis: "I think, overall, the NBA and its players are really conscious about our role and what we do as role models. Our motto is reduce, recycle, reuse, and we just kind of want to lead by example and encourage our fans to be a part of our Green Week initiative by hashtaging #NBAGreen. And for every hashtag and for every three-pointer that's made, the NBA will donate a tree. As a league and as players, we just want to participate in the improvement of our planet."
SI.com: You shot a lot of threes during your career. How do you feel about the way the game is played right now?
Davis: "I actually like it. I wish I was 100 percent healthy and in my prime at this time, but it just looks like the game is fun; guys are playing with a lot of free will and creativity. It's not a lot of plays being run, it's more free-flowing offense and it's a point guard's league. Looking at it as a point guard, you always want to play in an era like this."
SI.com: Now that we covered the on-court aesthetic, what's your take on today's NBA fashion?
Davis: "I think they're pushing the limits. Fashion and sports have always run hand and hand, and now I think it's becoming a little bit more mainstream to where the guys are setting the fashion trends and people in the fashion world are recognizing it. These kids have style; they came in the league with style."
SI.com: Players displayed their style at a fashion show during All-Star Weekend. Did you attend?
Davis: "No, no, no, I'm not a fashion show type of dude. I just like shopping, I like shopping. I'll wait for it to come out. I always like to shop and for me it was just about seeing things I like and making it part of my wardrobe and collecting things that I could always bring back when I'm like 50, 60 years old."
SI.com: Jumping to another topic, have you watched your alma mater UCLA in the tournament?
Davis: "UCLA, they started off rough, but I think them losing to Arizona in the conference tournament and going to Arizona at the end of the season and losing really toughened them up, because they played their hearts out and they had an opportunity to win. And I think that just built their confidence for the tournament."
SI.com: What type of relationship do you have with UCLA alums currently playing in the league?
Davis: "We're all cool. I remember the last time, during the lockout, we were all on campus together going back to school. I have a lot of love for my young Bruins, because they're out here killing it. It's all love."
SI.com: That makes for an easy transition to Russell Westbrook. Did you believe he could take the league by storm the way he has?
Davis: "He's showing and proving who he is and what he's capable of doing with his athletic ability, and also just working on his game. He's got game and he's a force to be reckoned with. Between him and James Harden, I think the MVP should go to one of those guys."
SI.com: Steve Nash is a popular topic right now after announcing his retirement last week. When you two worked out together recently, did you think he had more in the tank?
Davis: "I always thought he had it because he knows how to play and he has a high basketball IQ. I just think he couldn't do it anymore. His body couldn't take it anymore. For him, he had a great career, he's a great player, he's somebody who's a great friend, and I congratulate him just like everybody else. He'll always go down as a legend in this game."
SI.com: How are you feeling health-wise?
Davis: "I'm feeling good, man. I'm working out a lot, getting back in basketball shape. At some point, I'm going to get a call and a workout, and I'll show them what I can do. But it feels good to just be able to play again and be back on the court, and now it's just a matter of climbing back up that mountain and proving to people that I can still do it."
SI.com: I saw that you played in the Drew League. Were you actively engaged in games before that?
Davis: "No, that was the first time I really started playing like that. I wanted to get that summer under my belt and be able to come back and see what I can do. That kind of ignited me wanting to play again."
SI.com: You're doing a documentary on the Drew League. Can you explain the special place it holds with players in the league?
Davis: "For one, I think it's for the community. So it's an opportunity for guys who came up in L.A. to come back to the community. We get to see guys when they're in high school and now they're young professionals. No. 1, it's free. It's free to the community, for families. So it's a great opportunity for me as a documentarian to put something positive in the area, especially when it comes to South Central, Watts, and Compton. Usually, you hear a lot of the negatives things that happen, but nobody really tells the positive story. So this story is about basketball and the effects basketball can have on the community."