CLEVELAND – Baron Davis is going back home. It's the trip he feared.
The veteran guard left the Cleveland Cavaliers and returned to Los Angeles to be with his family following the death of his beloved grandmother, Lela "Madea" Nicholson, a woman who raised him and protected him from the gang-infested streets of South Central Los Angeles.
The team said in a statement that she died Monday. Davis played on Tuesday night against Golden State, but did not travel with the team to Milwaukee for Wednesday's game against the Bucks. The Cavaliers said there is no specific date for Davis to rejoin them.
Davis was recently acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. It was difficult for him to leave his hometown, and not just because he was playing where he first began dribbling the ball as a kid or because he was in one of the NBA's most glamorous markets.
Davis' 89-year-old grandmother had been in failing health and he wanted to be near her. He has credited his 89-year-old grandmother for being the guiding figure in his life. He chose to wear No. 85 with the Cavs as a tribute to his late grandparents, whose house was on 85th St. in Los Angeles.
"It's a number I'll always go out and give my heart and soul for," he said last week.
Despite knowing his grandmother had passed away, Davis played Tuesday night and scored a team-high 19 points in the Cavs' 95-85 loss to the Warriors. Davis did not mention his grandmother's passing after the game.
Davis has already become something of a favorite in Cleveland, where fans have quickly embraced his powerful game and the joy he shows while entertaining on the floor. With the Cavs, he has been reunited with coach Byron Scott, his former coach in New Orleans.
Davis and Scott clashed with the Hornets, but have since put aside any differences. Davis has described their second chance as a "rebirth."