Pelicans forward Anthony Davis gives us his thoughts ahead of this weekend’s NBA All Star Game in New Orleans.

Q: On not having a high school court growing up
Davis: “I think that not having a home gym with stands and where you’re friends and family that support you, you know you treat every game like a road game. So, you get used to all the negativity and all the boos so now it doesn’t matter if I’m playing home or away. I treat every game the same. We only had 400 people in my high school so it was a small school and it was just a grind honestly just a grind. But it definitely helped me out as a player, different mind-set to work even harder to try and get my name on a map which is tough to do when you don’t have a home gym or if you go to a small school that’s not really known.”

Q: On facing Giannis Antetokounmpo in the All-Star game
Davis: “It’s All-Star game man, we go out there and have fun, no one really takes it seriously. And of course no one really wants to go out there and get hurt, it’s all about fun. I’ve played against him twice, he can really play and bring a lot to a team. He can get the ball, get up the floor and find guys so it’s going to be a fun match up I’m looking forward to it.”

Q: On moving teams
Davis: “I like the team we have now, we’re always kind of injured so it’s tough to win games when a lot of the top guys are out but we’ve got to find a way. We’ve got a team that can compete for the playoffs, we’ve proved that a couple times this year, we can match up against anybody. We’re not afraid of anyone, we feel that we’re just as good as any other team in the league but we’ve just got to find a way to stay healthy and be a little bit more consistent that’s really it.”

Q: On leaving and what has to be done to improve the team
Davis: “First off I don’t plan on leaving make sure you write that down and secondly I think I said it before, we just need to get healthy that’s really it, getting healthy and staying consistent. Sometimes we’re inconsistent so that hurts us, if we keep all our guys on the floor and get more consistent then we’ll be fine.”

Q: On winning All-Star game MVP
Davis: “I’m going to go out there and try and win MVP. It’s in New Orleans so I’m going to go out there and play to the best of my ability but it’s definitely one of the goals to go out there and try to win MVP.”

Q: On trying to sell the Pelicans to prospective free agents
Davis: “I’m not trying to sell anything to anybody, if guys want to come here they can come. It’s not my job to go sell, my job is go play basketball. That’s the job for the front office, they handle that that’s their job to bring guys in.”

Q: On the All-Star game being in New Orleans again
Davis: “I’m not sure how it’s going to be. Last time out I didn’t get that much playing time but the fans definitely appreciated I was there. I’m pretty sure this time is going to be crazier than 2014 so I’m definitely excited for it. Being able to play in New Orleans and being able to play in front of the home crowd and family and friends is going to be something special for me.”

Q: On Pelicans making a trade before deadline
Davis: “That’s a question for the front office, my job is to go and play basketball. Whatever the front office decides, they can ask my opinion but right now I’m just trying to help the team win and let the front office do their job.”

Q: On how differently he will play on Sunday compared to the 2014 All Star Game
Davis: “I’ll play more aggressive, even when I play Sunday I am going to play the same way like any regular season game. I am going to go out there and be aggressive and just play my game, that’s the only thing you can do. Of course, it is not taken that seriously except the fourth quarter. I am just going to go out there and play defence and you know do my thing on offense and have fun, the most important thing is to have fun and that’s what I am going to try to do.”

Q: On what he learnt from the London Olympics in 2012
Davis: “I learnt a lot. To go over there and participate in an Olympics before I stepped on an NBA floor, it taught me a lot being around all those guys who are future hall of famers and done tremendous things in their careers and so being able to get that experience and trying to learn a little from those guys and bring that back to New Orleans and just try and help the team win. I definitely got a great experience and a great learning experience from London.”

Q: Is Dirk Nowitzki a role model for you?

Davis: “I watched a lot of Dirk clips in the past few years. The way he creates space, he uses his body very well and it is easy for him because he can just shoot over guards. So, yes, I watch a lot of clips and try to do things that he does from the elbow area or even down to the block and I try to put that in my game.”

Q: Second time in the Skills Challenge, do you have confidence you will make a comeback from last year and who is the most competitive player to play against in this year’s Skills Challenge?
Davis: “The Skills Challenge is always fun, I had fun last year. It was the first time I was doing it and it was something different for me, so I definitely wanted to do it again this year, so I’m looking forward to have fun. If I win, I win, of course I always want to win, but my goal is to have fun and to enjoy the All-Star Weekend. I would love to win the entire competition, but going against players such as Embiid, he’s a very skilled player as well, so it is not going to be easy.”

Q: On the evolution of big men in the NBA
Davis: “There are no traditional big men in the league anymore. The big men now are able to shoot the basketball, some even shoot threes. The game has definitely evolved and that’s the way the game is going. Every big man that comes in the league is getting better and better, adding more to the game and making it more fun. Of course, there are still back-to-the-basket big men, like me or Dwight Howard, who go back and defend.”

Q: What are you looking forward the most this weekend?
Davis: “The atmosphere will be great. The city of New Orleans is a great city. Of course you have Mardi Gras at the same time and that will make the All-Star Weekend a lot more fun. The food I great, people are great, it’s just fun and beautiful. I’m really excited to be in that game and to play in the city of New Orleans in front of our fans. It’s going to be a fun and emotional game.”

Q: What position do you prefer to play?
Davis: “I feel more comfortable at the four, but with the team that we have now it is better for me to play at the five. We have been successful with me playing at the five, but you have to adjust to what the team is looking and what the line-up is. I’m cool with the five right now, but I prefer the four.”

Q: On the best young big man in the NBA
Davis: “I’m going to say myself. I don’t think there is anybody better than me, this is the mentality I have. The other guys, [Kristaps] Porzingis, Karl [Anthony Towns} or Embiid are definitely up and coming players. All of us are to do some of the same things, shoot the basketball, handle the basketball, be a playmaker, rebound. It is always fun to go against all three of those guys, but you never know what you are going to get.”

NBA All-Star 2017 from New Orleans will be broadcast on BT Sport 1 and NBA League Pass. Coverage includes:
– Friday evening/Saturday morning, 2am: Rising Stars Challenge
– Saturday evening/Sunday morning, 1am: All-Star Saturday Night
– Sunday evening/Monday morning, 1am: The 66th NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans

Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

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