Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul's multi-talented forward discusses his basketball career and other talents with host Joe Arlauckas
Season 6 of The Crossover opens with Nigel Hayes-Davis
Euroleague Basketball's award-winning podcast, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas, returns for its sixth season and gets things going with one of the most interesting players in the competition. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul forward Nigel Hayes-Davis is now in his fifth season in the EuroLeague on his third different team. He has been an impact player at every stop, helping his teams pile up wins while playing for some of the best and most demanding coaches in Europe.
All the while, Hayes-Davis has become a seasoned traveler, absorbed multiple languages and left his mark on the communities where he plays and where he grew up. To understand Hayes-Davis best, one needs to hear about his relationships with his mother, Talaya Davis, and his stepfather, Abert Davis. In fact, Hayes-Davis even selected the clip that best demonstrates the family dynamic.
15:00 "I want this one to be the clip everyone uses. So I talk about my stepfather all the time. You're right," he explained. "And everyone's like, 'Oh, what about your mom?' But everyone knows that I love my mother dearly. Of course, I love my mother so much that like, in order to save my life, let's say we're walking down the street and I had to push my stepfather in front of a truck to save my mother. I wouldn't even think about pushing him. But the reason why he's so amazing is he would go before I could push him because he wouldn't want me to feel bad about it and he would care that much about my mother and myself. So, like, that's the relationship. Like, I pushed him in front of a truck for my mom, but he would jump before I could push him."
Abert Davis continually set an example for his stepson through hard work and dedication to the family, even splurging on expensive basketball shoes to support Nigel in high school. Hayes-Davis went on to become a star in college at the University of Wisconsin, where while becoming an advocate for athlete's rights, he also reached two NCAA Final Fours and one championship game.
The next step was the NBA, where he suited up for three different clubs during the 2017-18 season, but never caught on anywhere.
36:25 "The beauty of that is, you know, I can technically say you achieved a dream playing in a [n NBA] game, playing in some games and then you know coming to Europe and like really learning how to like, learning more about just how to how to play basketball," Hayes-Davis said. "Like it's two different worlds. Honestly. The NBA and EuroLeague are two completely different brands of basketball. They're really not even comparable."
After making his European debut with Galatasaray Istanbul in the EuroCup, Hayes-Davis caught the eye of Zalgiris Kaunas, which signed him the following season. The forward credits his time under Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, who he played for at both Zalgiris and FC Barcelona, for helping him take a step forward as a player.
43:00 "The Xs and Os that Saras has and like just like just the basketball mind, to be around that. I always tell people, he's one of the smartest minds I've been around," Hayes-Davis said. "What I appreciate the most is that he, and I told him too, even though like he wasn't a great defender, he helped me be a great one."
Hayes-Davis's role and, accordingly, his production have grown since he joined Fenerbahce under Coach Dimitris Itoudis in the summer of 2022. Their first season together came to an end after a thrilling playoff series against Olympiacos Piraeus, which the Reds won in five games only after edging Fenerbahce in Game 3 in Istanbul on Kostas Sloukas's buzzer-beating triple over the outstretched arm of Hayes-Davis.
51:17 "They were a great team and honestly, like what anybody says, to be a championship team, and as great as they were, they earned the level of luck they got on that game when he shot from Sloukas because honestly, we outplayed them that game," Davis-Hayes lamented. "That would have been three wins in a row. We lost the first one and we outplayed them for three games in a row. And we should have won, should have won the series 3-1."
Fenerbahce and Hayes-Davis are off to a strong start this season as they hope to put that loss in the rear-view mirror and power on to challenge for the crown in 2024.
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague. The Crossover debuted in 2018 and has featured such current stars as Mike James, Lorenzo Brown and Mario Hezonja; coaching greats such as Georgios Bartzokas, Dimitris Itoudis, and Zeljko Obradovic, and legends like Theo Papaloukas, Nikola Vujcic and Mike Batiste, among others.