TORONTO — This is a funny way to relax.
It’s mid-afternoon, and Anthony Davis is crisscrossing a hotel concourse, strolling from an interview to a podcast appearance. He stops in between for a hug and chat with Jerry Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball’s board of directors, and then he’s off to a national radio spot.
Like every star he’ll join in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at the Air Canada Centre, the New Orleans Pelicans power forward by this point has held a 30-minute interview session with a mass of reporters. He has participated in the league’s Junior NBA Day with some 2,500 school kids.
All-Star weekend rarely slows — and there’s much more ahead — but at some point Davis will stop. He’ll reflect. He’ll look back on what went wrong as the Pelicans stumbled to a 20-33 record at the All-Star break, and he’ll set about doing his part to fix it.
“When I have downtime, it’s, ‘What I can do to help the team win?’ ” Davis said.
Downtime is hard to find here.
On Friday afternoon, Davis had a Players Association meeting to attend. He planned to be at the Air Canada Centre for Friday night’s All-Star festivities, which included the Rising Stars Challenge. On Saturday, there’s a breakfast, practice and a photo session. There are more interviews, an autograph signing and an appearance for Nike.
There’s Saturday night’s Skills Challenge, where Davis will join a crop of big men who are the first to participate in the NBA’s annual showcase of ballhandling, passing and outside shooting.
And then there’s Sunday’s All-Star Game, where Davis — injury-free and hungry for a chance to log minutes in the league’s midseason spectacle — hopes to make an impact.
“I love being at All-Star,” Davis said. “I think All-Star weekend is just about fun and trying to have an experience that you usually don’t have.”
He’ll get that chance Saturday, when he joins big men DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and Karl-Anthony Towns in the Skills Challenge alongside guards Jordan Clarkson, CJ McCollum, Isaiah Thomas and Emmanuel Mudiay.
Davis — who will compete head-to-head against Cousins in the first round — said he didn’t set up a course or practice for the event, which includes threading a pass through a hoop and making a jump shot. He predicted a guard would win, though his goal was to take the title.
“I think passing through the hoop is the big thing,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “If you can get that (pass) through — and then making the shot, obviously. Those are the two key things. If he can get that — and he’s a great midrange shooter — I think he’ll have an opportunity.”
For Davis, the Skills Challenge — and Sunday’s All-Star Game — are a chance to show off the diverse set of skills that earned him a reputation as one of the league’s top young players.
But this is on-the-job-training, too.
For the 22-year-old, a franchise player whose franchise is having a nightmare season, the weekend is one-stop shopping for advice from more experienced stars. Davis, averaging 23.4 points and 10 rebounds, isn’t the first All-Star — nor the only one here — to see his team struggle. He has the sympathy of his peers.
“I’ve been through it before,” said East forward Carmelo Antony, whose Knicks are 23-32. “I’m pretty sure a lot of guys in here have been through something similar to what (Davis) is going through. The good thing about it, he’s young. He still has a lot of years ahead of him.”
Anthony said he’ll spend the weekend trying not to focus on the Knicks’ struggles. He’ll try to relax. He’ll try to have fun and enjoy the spectacle.
Davis, a three-time All-Star, wants the same things. He called the weekend a chance to “wind down” and “not stress about anything.”
At the same time, he said, the Pelicans “want to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs,” Davis said. As such, he’ll try to learn some lessons he can bring back to New Orleans.
“You just mingle with them and try to pick their brains about the first half of their seasons, just try to bring it back to the team,” Davis said. “Every team is not going to be Golden State or San Antonio. You’re going to have other teams that aren’t in the position they’re in.
“You’ve just got to try to learn from it and try to figure out all the things they’re doing — how their locker room is, all those things — and try to bring it back to your respective teams.”