Los Angeles Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley said he wants to “shine a light” on his hometown of Chicago after losing one of his best friends to gun violence last month.
Beverley opened up for the first time about the death of Davaris Davis on 20 July in an interview with ESPN published on Wednesday.
“I cried on my way to practice on the back of the bus, man,” Beverley told the network. “It makes me just want to hurry up and win my championship – understanding that I have to go through every process and phase [to get] that while being fortunate to be out here with my teammates – and then get back home to my homies, get back to my friends.
“I am tired of losing people. You know? It hits home for me. I have to deal with the reality when I get back, comforting my friends, being a leader right here, being a leader of my crew back home in Chicago.”
Authorities said Davis, who had just turned 31, was shot in the abdomen and arm in the city’s Douglas Park neighborhood, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He just turned 31 in July,” Beverley said of Davis. “Couple of days after his birthday, he passed. [He died in the] same neighborhood, same area, same park we hang out at.”
More than 2,200 people have been shot this year in Chicago, nearly 700 more than in the whole of 2019. The surge in gun violence amid the public health, economic and policing crises impacting poor neighborhoods erupted Monday when the north side shopping area known as the Magnificent Mile experienced hours of looting early following a police shooting on the South Side.
Donald Trump has regularly portrayed Chicago as a lawless place and threatened federal intervention in the city.
“I just want to shine a light on the city of Chicago,” Beverley told ESPN. “It ain’t safe right now. It’s a tough time. But there are still kids in there that want to go to the NBA and still kids in there that have dreams to be the next Patrick Beverley. And I just want to make sure that I am staying focused and doing what it takes to inspire.
“Because I am starting to lose people that’s real close to me, and it is starting to hit home. This [restart in the] bubble, my game, the way I carry myself is important, not only to me, but to all the inner-city kids around there. … I am trying to make a difference, yo. Just trying to find a way to get everyone out [of danger], you know?”
Beverley, who will miss his fourth straight game Wednesday with a strained left calf when Los Angeles face the Nuggets, is averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 assists as the team’s starting point guard. The Clippers trail only the crosstown Lakers in the Western Conference standings and can secure the No 2 seed on their side of the bracket with a win over Denver.