Charles Davis, the Vanderbilt Commodore basketball player, was drafted in the second round of the 1981 NBA Draft (the 35th pick overall). Seeing as I was born later that year, it's safe to say that I did not have the good pleasure of appreciating him for his exploits on the hardwood.
As a basketball player, Charles is currently eighth on Vanderbilt's career points list with 1,675 points (though only 16 points separate him from Drew Maddux [7th with 1,689] and Clyde Lee [6th with 1,691 points - all in three seasons as Freshmen were not allowed to play Varsity]). Davis holds the third best freshman scoring season with 15.3 points per game in 1977, the fifth best sophomore scoring season with 16.8 ppg in 1978, and the eighth best junior scoring season with 18.6 ppg. He's tied for second with most field goals scored in a career with 683. He's eighth in career field goal percentage with a .514 average (minimum 400 FGA). He was inducted into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Of course, none of these statistics come close to giving us a true picture of who Charles Davis is and what he's meant to the Nashville community.
Charles grew up in the Tony Sudekum public housing "projects" of South Nashville. Growing up, he felt that, based on his strengths and God-given talents, his only way out was through professional basketball. He vowed that if he realized his dreams, he would return to Nashville to help other inner-city youths realize their potential as well.
Charles graduated from Vanderbilt with a B.S. in Special Education for the mentally and physically challenged. After his rookie NBA season, he fulfilled his promise by forming the Charles Davis foundation.
For almost thirty years now, the Charles Davis Foundation has had a profound impact on the lives of children from some of Nashville's most impoverished areas. Through donations from various individuals and organizations, the foundation makes an impact on over 1,200 young Nashvillians each year.
The next time you hear a radio campaign for the CDF, please consider making a donation in honor of one of Vanderbilt's and Nashville's greatest athletes and citizens.
To see the rest of the Buick Human Highlight Reel, go to www.NCAA.com/buick.