Davis' wife a handful to deal with

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Kendra Davis, wife and soulmate of former Raptor Antonio Davis, is what you would call a handful.

She is spectacularly beautiful. She is smart. She has a capacity for great kindness.

She commands her husband's unflagging loyalty, which, to be fair, is a damned fine feature in a wife.

To put it in local terms, Kendra Davis is to wives what Bonnie Lindros once was to mothers.

She is either:

a) A courageous, truculent supporter.

b) The Antichrist.

c) A bit of both.

If ever there was a sporting couple not named Canseco deserving of a reality show, it's the Davises. Theirs is the story of a hard-working, modest ball player from the mean streets of Oakland who married a flamboyant beauty queen. She would stick with him during his years in the Greek league, and guide his development from bench jockey to a player so widely respected, he's the head of the NBA Player's Association.

Kendra was never altogether happy in Canada and, heaven knows, the Raptors' mismanagement contributed to that. Still, Antonio has been braying for Kendra while he plays in his latest hell hole, that dump the world knows as New York City. And while his teammates were contesting a fierce game with the Bulls, Wednesday night, Antonio was watching Kendra and her confrontation with a fan.

"I witnessed my wife being threatened by a man I later learned to be intoxicated," Davis said in a statement released by the Knicks. "I saw him touch her, and I know I should not have acted the way I did, but I would have felt terrible if I didn't react. There was no time to call security. It happened too quickly."

The incident was the first time a player has gone into the stands since the riot in Detroit a little over a year ago. This time, no punches were thrown. Order was restored in about five minutes. Still, the league has a zero tolerance policy on these kind of athlete/fan visits. Davis has drawn a five-game suspension, but he has won the respect of stand-up guys and Promise Keepers everywhere.

There is a but.

A 22-year-old Bulls fan named Michael Axelrod, whose father has deep political connections in the Democratic party, claims Kendra Davis hit him and cussed him.

Through his lawyer, Axelrod says it was he who called security ... for his own safety.

It all started, he said, when he shouted "bad call" at an official. That, he said, prompted Kendra Davis to start hitting him and say "shut your ---damned mouth." The two were separated by a couple of rows.

When Antonio Davis leapt the scorer's table to defend his wife, Axelrod was escorted away. He was allowed to watch the game's final moments from another area of the arena. There were no arrests.

Axelrod's lawyer says he is bringing charges, alleging battery against Kendra Davis and alleging slander against Antonio Davis. The lawsuit will claim Axelrod wasn't drinking and boy, does this all smell like a money grab.

There will be witnesses called over this. I will not be among them. I don't know what happened. But in just over four years here, Kendra Davis was at least once the fuse that prompted Antonio's frightening rage.

In November 2002, with the Raptors playing poorly, Kendra loudly ventured in the media area announced that her husband would benefit from a trade.

The remark was duly reported by a Toronto Star columnist. Davis was incensed. At practice the next day, he berated a reporter for referring to his wife's remarks so fiercely, Raptors officials took steps to make sure there would be no violence.

The Raptors were so eager to placate Kendra and therefore Antonio, they explored a spot for her on Raptors TV. The NBA, mindful of teams circumventing the salary cap, shot down the idea.

Writers who criticized Antonio Davis could sometimes expect harsh rebukes from Kendra by phone. Sun columnist Steve Simmons called one message from Kendra the single most nasty, angry message he has ever received and if you read Steve, you know that's saying something.

And now, thanks to the Davises and Michael Axelrod, we have the prospect of a lawsuit. I'm hoping for a full blown trial. In the absence of a reality show named Kendra and Antonio, it will have to do.


Videos

Photos