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Jamison speaks from the heart


(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


You don't often see emotional post-game interviews following regular-season NBA games in mid-January. Friday night was different. With almost all the remnants of Gilbert Arenas peeled away from the Verizon Center, with trade talks swirling, with the franchise turning into a national punchline, Antawn Jamison got on the mic before the game and told the fans that this team would make them proud.

"We never meant to make light of the situation," he said. "And we're going to do everything in our power--as long as I'm your captain, as long as these guys right here are my teammates--to make this one of the most respectable organizations in the league."

Then he went for 28 points and 11 rebounds as the Wizards beat the Magic in D.C. for the first time in forever, earning just their second divisional win of the season. And then he talked to Comcast SportsNet, before leaving the court. I thought he might cry.

"The most important thing for us is just to get back to having fun," he said. "It's been tough. They're friends of ours, we wish them the best, we know it wasn't any kind of [villainy] they wanted to go along with it. But for us, man, there's still a long way to go, we've still got a lot of basketball to play, and we just wanted to get back to playing basketball and having fun. And this is what we can do, if we play hard against the best teams and find a way to get it done."

The team left to the floor to a standing ovation, with Caron Butler pumping his fist and gesturing to the stands.

"That's the first time we probably got everybody out of their seats this year," Flip Saunders said later. "And they stood up because of how hard we played and the fight that we were playing with."

CSN's Chris Miller asked Jamison about the crowd, and the captain seemed genuinely emotional.

"You know, it's great," he said. "They're gonna be the reason. You know, they've always been the reason. My fondest memories are of a playoff atmosphere here. These people love the game of basketball, they know about the game of basketball, and we owe it to them, man, to come out here and play hard and give them something to cheer about, bring their families and their kids. And that's what we're gonna get back to. I know it's been difficult the last week or so, but we're gonna get back to having fun and making this one of the toughest places to come in and play at."

"They don't make 'em like Antawn Jamison any more," Miller said a few minutes later.

"Class," agreed Ron Thompson. "There's one word that comes to mind when you see him, when you watch how he plays, how he carries himself. Class."


Via CSN. Notice what's missing.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 8, 2010; 10:02 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Comments

Keep Jamison on this team i dont care what his trade value is we need him here

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | January 8, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

It was a good night. I'm all for blowing the team up, but in the meantime, there's no reason this collection of talent couldn't make up three games on the Bobcats.

One thing they didn't dump that I thought they might: the Ruff Ryders' "Down Bottom" beat that plays as the last seconds tick off in a win. You know, the one that has "hell yeah bust our guns" in the hook. I doubt the Pollin family or anyone management even has a clue.

Posted by: Tank2 | January 8, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"Keep Jamison on this team i dont care what his trade value is we need him here"

Yeah, he did good.

If they get to void Gil's deal, they might keep the guy around a little longer and add the piece Gil could not provide.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 8, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

The Captain is class. Randy Foye is (and always has been) Gilbert insurance.

Posted by: funkydancinmonk | January 9, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Jamison showed enormous class w/ his words to the fans. This franchise had become a laughing stock and the butt of jokes nationally. Something had to be said and 'Twan delivered. Most NBA players are solid citizens which Jamison demonstrated. Arenas and Crittenton are not typical and to lump all NBA players into a category of thugs w/ them is just wrong...

Posted by: randysbailin | January 9, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

to me, it's even less about what he said, it took Jamison a lot of courage to get up in front of the crowd tonight, i don't think there are a lot of players in the NBA that have that big of a pair when it comes to things that aren't settled on the court, regardless of where you stand on the Gilberts self-caused problems i hope people can see that, i think it means 100x more to do that in front of the home crowd than do it with a quote in a newspaper... good job antawn, you're right about the fact that D.C. does love basketball, i think you've cemented your place in D.C.'s basketball history book in the heart of our basketball fans

Posted by: destewar | January 9, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

As a Maryland fan (and someone who loves to see the Tar Heels loose), I gotta commend Jamison. Total class act...GO WIZ!!!

Posted by: iamasofaking | January 9, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Jameson give me a break weren't you front and center encouraging GA in his photo shot laughing and showing all of your teeth and gum, you are a hipocrite or did yoou and brenda set GA up big phony, give me a break Orlando played like chumps and without carter for the 2nd half and the lizs could barely hold on to the with orlando playing like idiots.

Posted by: getagripped | January 9, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Does this mean Jamison will not get fined since he is pictured in the photo laughing right along with most of the rest of his teammates? Where is your support for Arenas since apparently that was the straw that led to breaking the camel's back and got him finally suspeneded? Did you apologize to him for making light of a situation that wasn't funny when Stern was being pressured to suspend him? If you are going to back away from a friend when he is in trouble, then what kind of a friend are you?

Posted by: dandyhuffman | January 9, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: funkydancinmonk
The Captain is class.

randysbailin
Jamison showed enormous class w/ his words to the fans.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He didn't show much class when he was laughing it up pre-game with Arenas and his teammates before the 76ers game. Why do you people give these moron's a free pass. Are you that brain-washed?


Posted by: hessone | January 9, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

All I want them to do is play some damn defense!


Nice story but play some "D"!

Posted by: rickyroge | January 9, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey Redskin players, THIS is what a LEADER DOES.

So Daniels and Wynn and Portis and Cooley and all those that complained about lack of leadership but didn't NOTHING THEMSELVES to PROVIDE it, HERE IT IS. USE THE BLUEPRINT AND SHUT THE WHINING.

TWAN FOR MAYOR...CLASS ACT

Posted by: kahlua87 | January 9, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Dan. Right after Jamison's speech they announced the starting lineups. What song did the Wizards choose, and what were they dancing to? The beat from Dre and Snoop's "Deep Cover."

So we've turned a corner. We hate violence and we got rid of the guy with the bad judgment who was a such a negative influence on the community. And to celebrate, we're going to play a song about killing police officers?

Posted by: bryc3 | January 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I swear, these guys just can't win. We'll never know what the actual dynamic between Arenas and his teammates is (unless someone out there happens to be part of that inner circle. No? Then stop talking like you are), but when one of the truly stand-up guys in the NBA comes out and delivers a Mea Culpa, people STILL aren't satisfied. What may have seemed harmless at the time (laughing along with Arenas at the Sixers game) obviously wasn't given a few days of 20-20 hindsight. So Antawn not only owns up to that mistake, but also promises the team is going to try and right their ship and make their fans proud again. And for this he's being pilloried? Sheesh, if Daniel Snyder had done something like this, he'd have been awarded the keys to the city! I'm not sure we deserve this guy.

Posted by: jburksva | January 9, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@jburksva

You believe this guy Jamison? How can you trust any of these thugs. That's right, thugs. Dancing to rap music about killing cops after the apology smacks of ignorance and for you to fall for it does also. WTF? Get a life and stop looking up to these bums.

Posted by: hessone | January 9, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I posted this in another article yesterday, but I think it also applies here. Maybe more so because Dan has written 5 times since december that his columns take positions specifically designed to get responses, and not necessarily what deserves to be written about. And those are his sentiments not opinion about them. My opinion about Dan's sentiments is that they're an embarrassment to Sports & Journalism, and that he should be relegated to writing for a small-town version of the National Enquirer.

Tonight's "performance" was not about honesty, integrity, or shame. It was about the fear of losing a comparatively very easy lifestyle. This so-called Captain was not so contrite laughing as a member of the shooting circle photo. Not to mention that when a team struggles, so too does the attendance, merchandising, and ratings. When that sort of thing mixes with off court behavior that makes parents not want to bring their 2.14 kids to the game...well, that's when Management actually gets interested in the conduct of the players. And not 1 nanosecond before.

The disingenuous outrage by the Wizards organization and the NBA has nothing to do with guns or gambling. It's about red fonted numbers in excel files. It's about the number of empty seats and the number of people in line (or rather not in line) at the concession stands. It's about the number of people taking their wallets elsewhere in a struggling economy. It's about the number of jerseys, glasses, t-shirts, and bath mats the team sells. And most of all, it's about the number of people who change the channel. That last number effects advertising revenue, which covers a significant amount of the costs of any professional or college sport.

The concern and embarrassment are the crocodile tears of people who stand to lose lots of money and comfort. It has little to due with regretting behavior and lots to do with regretting being caught.

More importantly, keeping the team's nose clean by setting up elaborate extra rules to engender better behavior is a lot like grounding a young bully. Taking away the opportunity to be bad is not the same thing as being a good person. Rules don't make people want to behave well, they make people who want to behave badly fear getting caught doing bad things.

see here for examples:

http://basketball.about.com/od/history/tp/nba-gun-suspensions.htm

Posted by: Kdarienzo | January 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@Kdarienzo

Thank you for a well thought post. Maybe some of these people who defend these moron's will read your comments and take the time to think about the true facts.

Posted by: hessone | January 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I've always thought (for the past 5 years or so) that the "Down Bottom" beat that they play at the end of the game would NEVER get played if people knew what the lyrics were. I like it and on it's own it has nice energy, but I'm guessing that not many people have heard the real song.

Posted by: MikeP1 | January 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Kdarienzo, your analysis of the situation is exactly right. You nailed it.

But your attack on Dan is pathetic and sad. We know exactly what we're getting when we read the Bog, and it's a refreshing change of pace from those twin pillars of "Sports & Journalism" you're obviously taking way too seriously.

Posted by: bryc3 | January 9, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Jamison's waking up and doing the right thing doesn't change the fact that Les Boules need to CLEAN HOUSE and START FRESH. THESE GUYS ARE BUMS WHO DON'T PLAY D. Does anyone out there really thing that we'll get "character guys" from any other NBA team? Give me a break......

Posted by: KDSmallJr | January 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@bryc3

I'm sorry it came off as an attack at Dan, it was my strong opinion about WHAT he chooses to write about. I specifically separated what he says he does from my opinion of it to avoid confusing the issue. However, I'm no writer and obviously I failed.

If it matters at all, my take on commenting is that the people who get paid to write are fair targets for criticism, but generally I try not to be critical of comments by readers, based on the fact that actually communicating in writing is difficult, and most people aren't really practiced at writing exactly what they mean.

Posted by: Kdarienzo | January 9, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

People jumping on the Wizards' players for laughing at Arenas' pistol gesture might want to let that one go. Sometimes you laugh out of nervousness, or to be polite, or because what the guy is doing is amusing (albeit in bad taste). What are the Wizards gonna do, put restrictions on smiling?

Posted by: randysbailin | January 9, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Kdarienzo, it's interesting that you think Dan's reporting on what DC area fans care about are embarrassing and yet you seek to promote your own attempts at journalism on his page? Talk about disingenuous... Why don't you stand on your own two feet instead of trying to gather the scraps of the Bog's leftovers?

Posted by: trolly_time | January 9, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit confused by some of the comments here. Everyone agreed the pistol circle display was inappropriate and distasteful and that the rest of his teammates should be ashamed for participating. The captain of the team comes out before the game and apologizes for the entire team. What is so wrong with that?

Posted by: geotherm21 | January 9, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Kdarienzo, i agree that you are no writer. Beyond that i don't see your point. So what if the wizards recent attempts at damage control have ulterior motives? The wizards are a business that is trying to maintain/maximize their profits. What's wrong with that? And yes, rules make people who want to behave badly fear getting caught doing bad things. it's called general deterrence and it's the foundation of our criminal justice system. again, i don't see your point.

Posted by: briffy | January 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I started a new Facebook Fan Page call Athletes Behaving Badly because of the Gilbert Arenas fiasco. While Washington DC is working hard to build our community, educate our children, dispel the reputation of being a violent place and support our families, this guy is disrespecting everything we are all working towards. I expect my sports teams and their athletes to be 100% committed and engaged in our community’s development. The athletes shouldn’t have any time on their hands to get into trouble because they should be so busy either playing basketball, representing our cities or directly participating in the betterment of our communities at the very least by being stand up citizens. Most of the players and coaches are not from our communities. They have been brought here to represent us through sports. That’s why we are fans and proud of them. I for one am embarrassed and will not be supporting the Wizards this year. I will not see a single game, nor will I support any busyness that I know is affiliated with them for the remainder of the season.

Posted by: jasonkzphoto | January 9, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Kdarienzo, I have no problem with what you wrote about me. I'm sort of a public figure at this point, and you should feel free to criticize me.

I wish I knew exactly what you meant when you said I've "written 5 times since december that [my] columns take positions specifically designed to get responses." I don't remember ever writing that. I know that I decide what to write based on what topics readers are interested in, but I've never written something I didn't believe in just to get responses. That'd be ridiculous.

As for Jamison, who knows what he and his teammates were thinking when they laughed. The point is, what Gilbert needed to do after he made a mistake was own up to it and apologize, in some genuine fashion. He did the opposite; his only true apology came from his law firm.

Whether you think Jamison was genuine or not, he made a mistake, and he owned up to it. And not through a press release, by standing face to face with 20,000 people and saying what he needed to say. It's not something I can recall many athletes doing. It worked for me. If it didn't work for others, so be it.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | January 9, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@DanSteinberg1

I was in the stands last night and there was not 20,000 in attendance. Place looked empty. Jamison didn't come clean if you ask me. Look, sports used to be about competition. It's all about money and attention now.

Posted by: hessone | January 9, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Jamison is what this team needs to be built around. He is class and hustle, and fight. These are values reflected by our city and its people and the Wizards should embody it as a whole.

Posted by: Terrapinjoe56 | January 9, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with everybody who has said that the Wiz need to keep Jamison. He has character -- something Arenas has showed he doesn't have from the day he signed the big new contract knowing he needed more knee surgery. You watch, the Wiz will be fine without Gilbert -- they will be a team and not just a bunch of supporting players to the class clown.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | January 9, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The captain of the team comes out before the game and apologizes for the entire team. What is so wrong with that?


geotherm21....here is my take. Not that it was anything wrong , I believe as as a season ticket holder & supporter of the Wizards, it was appropiate and accepted for what it is....whether from the heart or mandated by management. Wher I have 1 problem among several is why is the other 4 players whether they suggested the act or what ever other non-sense they came up with about those 4, is not fair. #4 was front and center and did not step up THEN, (like a true leader) and stop the antics after they began. I kind of remember The President (true leader) stepping up to the podium and stopping the a certain act from taking further embarassment. We all can look back when the Vice President made a statement and before it could take life, suffed it out. Gil made an incredibly horrific mistake before ,during and after the incident, but with $111 million that he EARNED, because of what he had already presented on his resume warranted that and I was fooled into buying into it with my loyalty & $$$, but to act as though he never ever existed is ludicrus. I do not see a whole lot of conversation here or other forums that is asking to support with medical help, which he sorely needs. I only wished that I could in some way reach out and find some one to help the young man that has given so much back to the community in $$$$ that you speak of time. really sorry for being so long ,but I am truly hurt by Gil's actions first and foremost and the backlash from angles that do not offer a support system for someone who truly needs it. And no I do not believe jail is the solution, but heavy dose of realty that does not always mean money.

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | January 9, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"but I am truly hurt by Gil's actions first and foremost and the backlash from angles that do not offer a support system for someone who truly needs it. And no I do not believe jail is the solution, but heavy dose of realty that does not always mean money." -- bossclifnpooh2

Thank you. I think this whole thing snowballed because of what Peter Vescey wrote. Gilbert is immature, but he is not someone that has been running around getting in trouble since he's been here.

Here has given money to local schools, reached out and participated in the community, and probably other things that we don't even know about.

He made a huge mistake and should have to pay for it, but I don't believe that jail is the answer.

Posted by: theBIGC_1982 | January 9, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Washington Bullets and now Wizard have a history . The organization is cursed . We have history of weird things. What Gilbert did was wrong . I was profoundly insulted this morning when i heard a lot of wizard fan expressing their opinion that Jamison act was somehow a publicity thing. It was a genuine and profoundly profesional and most mature act performed by a Washington Wizard for a very long time. We should all be proud of these young players, who are standing up and are ready to be held accountable for their actions and show remorse for their act of immaturity and insensitivity in sixers game. it was great to see the pride back though it may only last for a short tieme.

Posted by: maz3 | January 9, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Antawn said those things from the heart, and not from a teleprompter. It's not easy to stand up in front of a crowd and apologize for your teams actions (including himself). I think he's the true leader of that squad and his actions proved it. As for Gilbert, my hope is he can recover from this unfortunate incident and continue his playing career.

Posted by: derrickjoseph | January 9, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Is Antwan Jamison an Uncle Tom?? just wondering... cause I'm white...

Posted by: tony325 | January 9, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Is Antwan Jamison an Uncle Tom?? just wondering... cause I'm white...

Posted by: tony325

------------------------

There are, of course, still genuine racial problems, but too often some fool tries to introduce the issue when it's not even relevant.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | January 10, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

@ DanSteinberg1,

A buddy told me you'd responded to my post and that was definitely a surprise. More importantly, considering my distaste for your sentiments, and that you replied (courteously), it seemed really rude not to respond.

You wanted to know where I got the notion that your columns, "took positions designed to get responses" They were from 3 previous Columns & Tuesday Bog Live Chats starting in early December. You deserve to have them quoted, and I swear if I had 2 hours--b/c of how the Post articles are archived-- that would happen. Lacking the time, I'll do my best recall the first incident. You were responding to a question about not writing positive stories like what's going on with the Capitals this season. And in that response you wrote that Caps articles don't generate comments, which is important given the current reality of the newspaper business. (My first thought was, "Am I reading a Mike Wise column?") So, that's where that originated.

More importantly, I now see why a couple of people got so upset with my post, and I think I do owe you an apology. Using the term National Enquirer strongly implied you'd contrived positions in your columns. However, that's my not opinion. It's just my bad writing. Because while I don't like what you do, I do not in any way think you've ever made up a single word. It embarrasses me that I did not see what I was implying when criticizing you. I'm very sorry I wrote that. It was a wrong, unfair, and untrue implication.

Anyway, we aren't likely to agree on Sports or Journalism, but you sir, have class. And I won't forget that, I promise.

Posted by: Kdarienzo | January 12, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

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