Yes, there will be extra ticket requests in Chicago.
Yes, there will be flocks of fans seeking selfies in Lexington.
No, Anthony Davis doesn’t mind.
As the New Orleans Pelicans star embarks on a tour of his basketball life, with preseason games against the Bulls on Monday night in his hometown and the Sacramento Kings on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky, where he played his college ball, Davis knows there will be added demands on his time.
“But you got to love it. You got to embrace it,” he said Sunday. “So I’m definitely excited to go back to two of my homes and get a chance to play in front of fans and my family and friends.”
But a preseason game at the United Center brings little of the thrill Davis got last season from his first professional game there.
“I’d never played there except for the McDonald’s (All-American) game, but that doesn’t count,” Davis said. “It kind of meant a lot to be back home and get a chance to play. But now, it’s just another game, honestly.”
Still, coach Alvin Gentry suspects there’s some significance to Davis’ week. The Chicago Bulls are “very important to most of the kids that are basketball players there,” Gentry said, and Davis has a deep connection to Kentucky, where he won the 2012 NCAA title.
“Although he was only there for the one year, it’s still a special place,” Gentry said. “If you win a championship anywhere, then that becomes a really special place.”
The folks back home might scarcely recognize Davis.
He returns to his roots with an improved physique — he packed on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason — and an expanded game. In the Pelicans’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Davis made 2 of 3 3-point attempts. He has made 3 of 27 regular-season 3-pointers in his three-year career.
He’s also sporting some new ink, including a script “Chicago” tattoo on his right arm. Davis had that tattoo done in his new home — it was applied in New Orleans — but it represents his first.
“I just love my city,” Davis said. “I try to do everything for my city, give back to my city, play for my city. I just love the city of Chicago. It taught me a lot of things about life. It’s where I first started playing basketball, and honestly I wouldn’t be the person or player I am today without Chicago.”
But Davis will understand if there’s a tiny turnout for the first of this week’s homecomings.
The Pelicans and Bulls tip off at 7 p.m. Monday. The Cubs will host the Cardinals in the National League Division Series earlier that afternoon.
Davis isn’t much of a baseball fan — and the born-and-raised South Sider prefers the White Sox — but he knows his city’s priorities.
“It’s preseason, so they probably won’t even come to this game,” he said. “I don’t know. But the Cubs haven’t been here in a long time, so if I was a fan, I wouldn’t go to the Bulls game. I got to go to Wrigley and watch the team play.”