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Antawn Jamison remains positive after failed championship pursuit


My championship dreams, slipped away. (Reuters Pictures)


Antawn Jamison wanted a shot, asked for a shot, got a shot but, unfortunately for him, flopped. When the Wizards started heading down the toilet last season, Jamison discretely approached President Ernie Grunfeld and asked for a chance to play for an NBA championship. Grunfeld acquiesced, sending Jamison to a former rival in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers had the league's most valuable player, LeBron James, and the league's best record.

But in the latest example of "Be Careful What You Wish For," the Cavaliers were eliminated by Boston in the second round and two months later, James announced that he was going to take his talents to South Beach.

Suddenly, Jamison was stuck -- with two years and $24 million left on his deal -- with a franchise that appears headed for hard times in a hurry. His pursuit of a championship seems as far away as ever. Admittedly disconcerted with how things transpired, Jamison still believes that, no matter the outcome, it was well worth the risk. He'd rather have three months of a championship chase than no chase at all.

"My biggest thing, I've been playing almost 12 years and I never had a chance to play on a championship caliber team," Jamison said. "That was the one thing. I was like, 'What did I do to deserve this? I keep getting put in situations where the potential is there, high expectations and come up short.' After what happened last year, even if it's not what we wanted or I predicted, I can sit back and say I had a chance."

Jamison sat out Thursday's 97-83 preseason loss against his former team, with new Cavaliers Coach Byron Scott giving the 34-year-old veteran a rest on his knee. Before the game, Jamison explained that he has come to grips with what happened and won't change the way he has approached the game throughout his career.

"It's unfortunate that it ended the way it ended. By saying that now, no regrets," he said. "I just got to continue to do what I've been doing. That's being a leader on and off the court. It's a great group of guys in this locker room and we're going to compete. I can't sit here and say I deserve a chance or I need this or I need that. I'm in this situation. I have to make the best of it, try to figure things out to make something happen."

Coach Flip Saunders was asked about Jamison's situation on Thursday night and said, "Well as everyone always knows in this league, players that chase championships very rarely find them. To win a championship so many things have to fall in place. You've got to be good but you've also got to be lucky."

Jamison would appear to be unlucky, but has chosen not to dwell on the negatives. "This is where I'm supposed to be. It happened for a reason," he said. "It's a great organization here as well. I just have to live with that. And I can live with that. Before it was like, 'Man, I never had a chance.' Then I was in the best situation you could possibly be in to have that chance. It didn't happen and I can live with it. I just have to go out there and compete at a high level. Do things that's asked of me to do and finish off my career the way it's supposed to be finished."

When asked if he was disappointed by James's decision to leave for Miami, Jamison said, "I'm upset because of selfish reasons. I thought I was going to sit back, relax, have popcorn for 10 minutes every game, pick and pop and things of that nature. I knew when the trade happened that that was a possibility. I think it surprised people where he went, but it's a business and I've seen a lot. Been through a lot. Nothing can surprise me. No need to cry over spilled milk. Just realize, I'm still blessed to do something I love to do."

Jamison hardly recognizes the team he left behind, with the Wizards rebuilding around No. 1 pick John Wall and only four players remaining from his time with the franchise. He returned to D.C. last month to work out with some of the new players and said it felt "weird." For the first time in six seasons, he wasn't preparing for the season with the Wizards training staff, or cracking jokes with Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood or Caron Butler. "It was different," he said. "It's a change. Different than what we've been used to for a while."

But Jamison said he likes the direction that the franchise is taking now that he is gone. "I like Wall. Had a chance to play with him this summer. He's pretty much what the hype is all about. he knows the game really well and is going to make them better. If they contain, hard not saying Zero, but if they can contain No. 9 for the year, they can be dangerous," Jamison said with a smile. "They got the talent. I think Ernie and those guys are doing a great job, turning things in the right direction, starting over again and still being able to compete at a high level."

By Michael Lee  | October 8, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Kirk Hinrich returns to Chicago

Comments

I feel bad for you jamison but thanks for getting the wizards al thornton + cap space. If you had been here we would have probably gotten 27 wins and missed out on Wall. Blatche says thank you.

Posted by: jefferu | October 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

A class act--always.

Posted by: marky367 | October 8, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

A good post by Michael. I thought AJ was pretty open and honest. He wasn't a very good fit for Cleveland and trying to work him in so late in the season was a mistake. Lebron got what he wanted; but neither were at their best when it mattered. The reget shouldn't be going to Cleveland, it's not playing well in the biggest games of his career.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 8, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

don't worry Twan:

"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE"

You can take it to the bank.

http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/gilbert_letter_100708.html
(the letter seems to have been removed...)

Posted by: prescrunk | October 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Translation: "It's not like the Wiz had a chance, so of course it was worth a shot with the Cavs. Now both teams will suck for years, but at least I had that shot at glory last year"

And he's completely right. Jamison is a class act, always has been. It's a real shame that he hasn't been in a position to win more often.

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | October 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Class.

Posted by: DCFanatic | October 8, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks prescrunk.

Same thing I was thinking.

Posted by: Matte | October 8, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

He's never gonna win a championship because he doesn't play a lick of Defense, that was the issue in Washington with him and the issue in Cleveland......

Posted by: pikedawg | October 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Great guy, okay player. The Wizards looked better without him. Sometimes there can be a reason why players like Antawn Jamison and Juwan Howard just go from one losing team to the next... they may be part of the problem.

I mean that only from a basketball perspective. You couldn't ask for a more stand-up player.

Posted by: drischord | October 8, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I love AJ...But what in the hell made him think Cleveland was a championship caliber team...Cleveland been winning me $$ for the past 3 years and I'm mad as hell my dumb a** friends won't be betting on them this year in the playoffs against either Boston or Orlando, neither of which they would've EVER gotten past.

Lebron knew it and rolled out..

He did have a legit chance to win it all or at least go to the finals.. But Mr. Clutch missed them free throws after Lebron whispered in his ear and it has been down hill ever since...

Posted by: kevenjones | October 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Too bad for AJ. He was a good guy. And I don't blame him for wanting to get away from the madness and chase a ring. Sadly, LeTravel walked out on him.

Posted by: tundey | October 8, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Shouldve stay with the Wiz. Fortunately for us, he lacks loyalty and chased a ring. Hope he rots on losing teams for the rest of his career. I liked him while he was in D.C. though...

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | October 8, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Thank You, Jamison.

If you hadn't left, Blatche would have still been a bench player.

Good Luck in Cleveland!

Posted by: gimmedat | October 8, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland been winning me $$ for the past 3 years

Posted by: kevenjones | October 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good thing you started betting against them the year after they went to the finals.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 8, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland been winning me $$ for the past 3 years

Posted by: kevenjones | October 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good thing you started betting against them the year after they went to the finals.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 8, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

guess Orl and BOS were in the West that season.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 8, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The Cavs are going to make it to the playoffs watch and see and this dude agrees with me. http://www.lowpostnews.com/cavs/the-mistake-on-the-lake10082010/

Posted by: nay99 | October 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

""My biggest thing, I've been playing almost 12 years and I never had a chance to play on a championship caliber team," Jamison said. "That was the one thing. I was like, 'What did I do to deserve this? I keep getting put in situations where the potential is there, high expectations and come up short.' After what happened last year, even if it's not what we wanted or I predicted, I can sit back and say I had a chance.""

Last year's Cav's team was supposed to be championship caliber after they acquired you. What happened? You added nothing.

Hey MeTawn, here's a secret. Maybe you're not a championship caliber player...just a 20-10 stats guy.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 8, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

It's funny that his career stats are comparable to Tim Duncan, except he can't play defense or lead a team into the playoffs.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | October 8, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland had a couple good shots at a ring with LeBron. Jamison got to ride along for one of them, after a lunatic half-season here in Washington, so he has to be considered one of the lucky players. The Cavs didn't make it over the top, but they generally outperformed more talented clubs like Phoenix and Dallas, then ran into a hot Orlando club one year, and a hot Boston team the next. That outlined their weaknesses.

BTW, anybody who suggests that LeBron isn't good enough to take a team to a title is probably psychotic. Or somebody grinding an axe the size of Cleveland.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse


I found a feed for the game for those who can't get in on TV.

http://www.justin.tv/89546788#/w/451775072

Posted by: gimmedat | October 8, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

'discreetly', not 'discretely'.

Posted by: DCUnited2 | October 8, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Two quick observations about the Wiz tonight.
They still have no inside presence.
Nick Young has spent four years in the NBA and developed absolutely nothing...

Posted by: bozomoeman | October 8, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse


McGee seems like nothing carries over from one game to the next. He constantly goes for the monster block off weakside defense and gives up offensive rebounds because he's out of position.

Posted by: bobabuie | October 8, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a good guy Jamison, but he's not a winner. Yeah, he gets his 20 and 10 and everyone thinks it's great, but he gives up 30 and 20. He is a limited player and always has been, but is paid like a star, which he isn't.

Posted by: jwing14 | October 8, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

...thanks for the memories. But the only way I would want scar face back on the Wiz is if they would take GA off our hands and throw in somebody tall who can rebound and defend down low.

Posted by: oddjob1 | October 8, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Dray wouldn't be half the player he is now if Jamison hadn't been riding him the last few years, pushing him to work harder at improving his game and his conditioning. Wiz fans really owe him some gratitude for that.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | October 8, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

24 million left, uh, I think i could deal with an angry Ohio city and know that, well the chips didn't fall as I thought they were about to...

Jamison should've been smarter and realized that he could have been the Robert Horry of so many contenders.

I was happy he was here - but in the same way I was happy D. Green kept playing for so many losing teams. I can't feel sorry for someone who will make, in a year, the amount of money that will pay for graduate education for my great grandchildren.

Posted by: scheermadness | October 9, 2010 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Jamison might be the most overrated player in the league. Defense aside(cause it's embarrassing). 20-10 haha, Jamison is NOT a 20-10 guy. He has done it once in his carrer, thats over a 13yr span. what a joke that this guy is labeled 20-10. THank GOD he is gone. Ill take DRE any day of the week over Jamison. And for people saying we need help at SF. Do you not like Josh Howard? We do need help in the middle but not at SF.

Posted by: wizravterp | October 9, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

If he would have only signed for less and came off the bench it would have worked out fine. 7-8M a year and we could have kept you.

Wall, Gil, Howard, Dray, Yi/McGee
with Kirk, AJ to lead the second unit would have been awesome. Those would have been pieces you could have built from.

You wanted the money more than you wanted to win. You know Ted was going to own us and things would change. Other than that, class act. At 34 and 13M then 15M off the bench, that wasn't something we could afford. Maybe Mark will bring you back as 6th man before it's to late.

Posted by: hands11 | October 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Shouldve stay with the Wiz. Fortunately for us, he lacks loyalty and chased a ring. Hope he rots on losing teams for the rest of his career. I liked him while he was in D.C. though...

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | October 8, 2010 4:44 PM
^^^^^^^
Exactly!

Posted by: jayjordan1 | October 9, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse


Cleveland been winning me $$ for the past 3 years

Posted by: kevenjones | October 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good thing you started betting against them the year after they went to the finals.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 8, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

guess Orl and BOS were in the West that season.

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

Once again I have to school you.. First off Boston didn't make the playoffs in 2007 and Orlando was an eight seed. So Cleveland did not have to play either team.

Boston and Cleveland have were a matchup nighmare for the Cavs ever since 2008...

But you for some reason like to stalk my posts..get off my balls lil homie...

Posted by: kevenjones | October 9, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Dallas is the only team that got it right with Jamison. They had him as a 6th man. That's where he belongs-- coming off the bench. He was one of the biggest problems with the Wizards, not one of their solutions. The Dude jacks up 30 shots a night and makes less than a quarter. He costs them on so many possessions. And he absofreakinlutely plays no D. He just killed us on defense. He wasn't a lick of help to the Cavs. But if they had been watching, they would've seen, that's just Jamison. He tries hard but he isn't very good. He's a good 6th man trying to be a star. Not fair to him or the team he plays for. BUt since it's the Cavs, who really cares.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | October 9, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

What I remember about Jamison is for a shooter he put a lot of airballs up there just like he couldnt see or something,he was a tweener too, not big enough for the four and not quick enough for the three yep glad to see him gone along with that other north carolina bozo at center!!!

Posted by: bru4bon42z | October 11, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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