Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

New look Wiz get ready for Cleveland rivalry


(2008 photo by Preston Keres - TWP)


Remember when LeBron James said there was no rivalry between the Wizards and the Cavaliers? DeShawn Stevenson was asked about that comment Monday afternoon, on the eve of the rivalry's first 2009-2010 incarnation.

"He's the Golden Child, he's gonna say that," Stevenson said. "He has a lot of stuff to lose. I don't. I don't care."

In other words, we're still allowed to milk this thing for Web hits. Later, Stevenson talked about how Cleveland had 40-some wins a year ago. The number was actually 66. Close enough. And the bearded, duck-tailed one was asked about ex-teammate Antonio Daniels possibly signing with the Enemy in Ohio.

"I have nothing against [Daniels] as a person," Stevenson said. "It's just that jersey and that person that's over there."

That person over there? That's why this is awesome.

This city currently has a few treasured sports rivalries. Skins-vs.-Cowboys. Caps-vs.-Penguins. Nats-vs.-FAIL. And, of course, Wizards-vs.-Cavs.

The treasury of good times continued last year, when the Wizards went through that unfortunate recession. Still, there was The Crab Dribble game. The Christmas game in Cleveland stolen by the refs. The Cavs Bench enraging the Wiz fans by standing throughout the second half.

And sure, many of the people who built this rivalry are gone: Darius Songaila, Daniels, Larry Hughes, Damon Jones, Eddie Jordan, Oleksiy Pecherov, etc. And sure, publicly, the Wizards' vets have declared this thing long dead.

"I think some guys have a distaste for Cleveland on this team, but me personally, it's just another game," Brendan Haywood said, drops of insincerity streaming out of his pores. "I play basketball. We can go out there, I can foul you hard, you can foul me hard, I can be mad at you that day, but the next time we see each other, it's a different game, it's a different day. I don't need to hold a grudge. Life's too short. C'mon, Dan."

"Just ready to play man, just ready to play," Caron Butler said, when I asked if this rivalry was still a going concern. I pointed out he hadn't technically answered my question.

"I'll tell you half the story, the rest you fill it in," Butler said. "I'm just ready to play."

Luckily, there were some less guarded souls out there willing to help fill the rest in.

"That's been the talk from day 1 of training camp, that we got to go out there whenever we play them," newcomer Randy Foye said. "You've got to understand, when it's games like this, coach don't have to say too much, guys are ready to play. As soon as they take steps on that Cleveland soil, guys are ready to go."

"That Cleveland soil?" See, the Wizards don't say such things about the soil in Oklahoma City. Foye said he knew some about this rivalry from watching the playoff battles TV, but that that he learned more when he arrived in D.C.

"I got a little bit of education, talking to DeShawn, talking to Gil, guys like that," he said. "I just YouTubed DeShawn Stevenson versus LeBron, to see what came up, because I heard them talking about it, so I got a little bit of everything. You know, I heard Brendan talking, I heard Caron talking, I heard Stuart Scott saying things. From then on, I understood that it was a big rivalry."

What, no Soulja Boy?

"Yeah, I saw little bit of Soulja Boy, I saw Jay Z," Foye confirmed. "Like I said, I just checked up on it to see what it was about and how serious it was."

And do fans in Cleveland still feel the same way? Well, depends who you ask.

"I've never been cheered for on the road, I always get booed, so I'm used to it," Butler said, playing down any special treatment in that special corner of the Rust Belt.

"Even when we played them in the preseason, they booed us as soon as we ran out there," Foye said, again administering a warming dose of truth. "They was waiting for us to come out....And LeBron wasn't even playing. I was like, 'Man, these fans are hostile here.' This is a preseason game. I know you want to win every game, but man, this is a preseason game and they booing us like this? I was just thinking, just imagine how the regular season gonna be."

In fact, this rivalry is largely for the fans, and the fans in both cities love it. The regular season is so dang long, it's nice to have little Super Bowls here and there. As for Stevenson, the man most responsible for this thing getting as fun as it got, he tried to play it cool on Monday, saying LeBron has been "playing awesome," but he didn't deny that he still has certain feelings. Like, his thoughts on the rivalry's health?

"As long as I'm on the court, as long as Gilbert's on the court, 'Twan, Caron...until pretty much all that goes away, it's gonna be a rivalry" he said. "Watch the tip ball, nobody say what's up to each other. No hand shakes. You see any other team, we always give a handshake before."

I asked DeShawn whether he'd ever consider signing with the Cavs; "you think they would sign me?" he asked. "Do you think that? They would never sign me over there, I already know that."

Stevenson said he knew he'd get boos and chants, and even his teammates agreed that he'd get heckled. He's talked in the past about what fans there would say when they saw him around town, but apparently that's no longer a concern.

"I really don't go out when I'm in Cleveland no more. I just stay in my room," he said. "Ain't nothing to do in Cleveland. Have you been there?"

I pointed out that there's a lake.

"I don't do lakes," he said.

But other Wizards wouldn't even co-sign Stevenson's thoughts about the Cleveland tourism industry.

"You're searching, man, you're searching," Butler said.

"I mean, they've got the mall, movie theater," Haywood said. "That's all I really do in any city anyway, go to the mall or go to the movies, so it's cool to me."

"Oh, there's a lot to do in Cleveland," said native son Flip Saunders. "It depends what you want to do. I hope that there's nothing to do tonight in Cleveland, that's what I do hope."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 2, 2009; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: IMG exec calls Ovechkin a "global icon"
Next: Behavior Change: Group protest

Comments

YES Dan! A lengthy, juicy, post on Wiz-Cavs. We can be friends again.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | November 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Seconded - soooo over the Snyder/Cerrato/sign ban bashing - especially since I had to wake up to it this Monday am

Posted by: sumplmg | November 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

LOVE IT!

Can't WAIT for the game tomorrow night! Man, I hope the Wiz come away with a big win. I have this feeling......

And Dan, thanks for the respite from SnyderGate.

GO WIZ!

Posted by: ivyleague | November 2, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Dan you forgot the MD-Duke rivalry. And yes, it is a rivalry if only for the hatred of Duke.

Posted by: JDP_ | November 2, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I LOLed at the Nats' rival being FAIL.

Posted by: VTDuffman | November 2, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

I had logged on today hoping you would return from Vegas with more on the Glorious Burgundy Revolution against Dear Leader Danny and Great Leader Vinnie and the Peoples Republic of Redskins Nation, but all you have done today is your normal, competent job of covering all of DC's sports.

I am disappointed!

Posted by: Leeguru | November 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

We MD fans think there is a MD/Duke rivalry, but there is not. They don't care about us.

Does DC United have a rivalry? Relevance?

Posted by: ckstevenson | November 2, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

There's a rivalry?

Posted by: law3 | November 2, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"I asked DeShawn whether he'd ever consider signing with the Cavs; "you think they would sign me?" he asked. "Do you think that? They would never sign me over there, I already know that.""


Of COURSE the Cavs won't sign you DeShawn. You are:
1) just a terrible player
2) a friggin maroon
3) did i mention you are just awful at basketball?
4) a nothing

Cavs > Wiz. Always. Enjoy.

Posted by: popopo | November 2, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

A friggin maroon?!?! Oh the ironing!

Posted by: smithm1 | November 2, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

lol..this isn't a rivalry. If we meet again in the playoffs and BEAT them this time....THEN we can start talking rivalry. Right now, we have no foes after last seasons miserable existence of a season.

Posted by: cbmuzik | November 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

This post makes me very happy, thanks Dan.

How can Haywood lie like this? Lebron basically called him a punk after that foul a couple years ago and managed to turn most of the national media against Haywood. And we're to believe Haywood has forgotten that? I hope he smacks Lecrab again tomorrow.

Posted by: Hobes | November 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Of COURSE the Cavs won't sign you DeShawn. You are:
1) just a terrible player
2) a friggin maroon
3) did i mention you are just awful at basketball?
4) a nothing"
Posted by: popopo | November 2, 2009 4:24 PM


rofl @ ur life. because idiots like you clearly do not watch basketball, here are Deshawn's stats after week 1:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/gamelog?playerId=808

On the season, Stevenson is shooting 56% from the field, 40% from 3 pt range, and pulling down 4 rpg in just under 20 mpg, all while playing good defense. He's pretty much doing exactly the job they need him to.

for all the hype letravel gets (michael jordan/oscar robertson comparisons, being given an MVP when his numbers were in fact second rate, etc) he sure does choke a lot... his playoff record speaks for itself. cant wait til he bails on cleveland and sorry cavs fans next year and the universe realigns itself. in the meantime witness DEEZ, bytch.

DESHAWN > mistake-by-the-lake. always.

Posted by: prescrunk | November 2, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Great post! Can't wait for the game. Hope Butler is healthy. But even if not - LeTravel and the Crabaliers are goin' down!

Posted by: LyricalRico | November 2, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

MD-Duke and steelers-ravens are huge local rivalries... gtown-syracuse? cmon dan

Posted by: nford2 | November 2, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Stevenson doesn't like Lebron!

Lebron disses the Wiz!

(Yawn.)

For there to be a rivalry, don't BOTH teams have to win every now and then? By that measure, the Wiz have a long way to go before calling the Cavs a rival. Like, how about winning a game against them to start things off?

Underwhelming, to say the least. Back to the Redskins!

Posted by: hithere1 | November 2, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

If the Cavs aren't a rival they are surely a HATED FOE!!

I love it when the P.A. at the Verizon Center plays audio of the baby crying whenever LeBaby whines to the officials!

He has no class or home training as he showed last season when he stormed off the court and didn't shake hands with Orlando players after the Cavs got their asses kicked!

LePunk!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | November 2, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"I don't need to hold a grudge. Life's too short. C'mon, Dan."
+
"Ain't nothing to do in Cleveland. Have you been there?"
=
So Awesome.

I love this Wiz team.

Posted by: Boo1000 | November 2, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

"Nats vs. FAIL"

Hahahaha, great one Dan. Damn you FAIL!!!!

Posted by: killercue00 | November 2, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

It's hardly a rivalry. It's been a spanking by LeBron with Stevenson bent over saying 'Thank you sir, may I have another'.

He should SHUT UP and play. If talking and doing that stupid hand gesture ala WWE won games, he'd be an All-Star and at least a Eastern conf. champ.

At some point, teams must get rid of players who don't perform up to their braggadocio. Stevenson, that JR kid from Denver are the latest JR Rider wannabes. And Stevenson's talent level isn't even THAT high.

Tats and talk do not win games, divisions, conference titles or Championships. And you DS apologists will see so when he goes 1 for 8 with 4 fouls and rides the bench as the Cavs win...again.

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 3, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Know what would really shoot this rivalry through the roof? If Lebron signed with the Wizards next summer. (Hey, stranger things have happened, right?)

Posted by: nittanybruin | November 3, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Can it be a rivalry if one team never wins? I'm all for the Wiz getting fired up to try & change that, but it hasn't been much of a 'rivalry' lately.

Posted by: Mort1 | November 3, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

how about winning a game against them to start things off?

Posted by: hithere1 | November 2, 2009 7:13 PM

you couldnt be more misinformed. we embarrassed them at the phone booth TWICE last year. we also dominated them in preseason. ppl who hate on Deshawn simply do not get it. he and gilbert are the heartbeat of the team, n00bs!

Posted by: prescrunk | November 3, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

What would really make it a rivalry is if DeShawn flat out punches LeBaby in the face tonight. I think we could absorb the suspension. C'mon, DeShawn, step up your game!

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | November 3, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

What would really make it a rivalry is if DeShawn flat out punches LeBaby in the face tonight. I think we could absorb the suspension. C'mon, DeShawn, step up your game!

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins

Actually, that might just work to our advantage. If you punch a friend of LeBron, you get traded away, so if you actually punch HIM, maybe we can get a real perimeter defender and bench scoring for the second unit. Not bad, not bad at all...

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 3, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

^ shut up

Posted by: prescrunk | November 3, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

^ shut up

Posted by: prescrunk

Grow up. You and the handful of DS supporters are outnumbered. If he's here past the All-Star break, you'll be lucky. He's all but done in this town...follow him to his new team where he'll average 8mins/game. He's done.

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 3, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

He's done? Are you... Ernie Grunfeld? Flip Saunders? A soothsayer? 20+ mpg and 40% from behind the arc on the year? how did Jason Terry do in game one? the entire Nets backcourt last weekend? Deshawn has received repeated praise from the current coach and his teammates... so yeah, good talk. bytch

Posted by: prescrunk | November 3, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Scrunk, still hard at work.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | November 3, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

How did that taste Wizards' fans? Must feel bad to spend so much focus on one game and then come out and get blasted.

Posted by: gsizzle | November 3, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

He's done? Are you... Ernie Grunfeld? Flip Saunders? A soothsayer? 20+ mpg and 40% from behind the arc on the year? how did Jason Terry do in game one? the entire Nets backcourt last weekend? Deshawn has received repeated praise from the current coach and his teammates... so yeah, good talk. bytch

Posted by: prescrunk | November 3, 2009 1:56 P

The only bytches are you and your bff DS. As last nite's game shows, only you and 4 others (probably family members) see his 'greatness'. Your man crush aside, here is the stat line:

18 mins. 3 pts 4 missed 3ptrs 1 turnover

And silly me, I was unfairly criticizing DS because he ALWAYS steps up to guard the opponent's best player and he ALWAYS shows up for this 'rivalry'. I don't know what I was thinking...DS was outstanding tonite.

I mean, those 3 points, 4 missed 3ptrs and that turnover really fueled this team. And the rebounding...dude just played out of his head tonite. He showed LeBron what he's capable of...

All 5 of you DS apologists, feel free to use the above 'rose colored prose' to continue supporting this loser.

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 4, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company