Antawn Jamison has gone about his whole career being the consummate pro. He doesn’t say much, but gets the job done. Want him to come off the bench his first year as a Dallas Maverick, just as he was coming off three straight seasons in Golden State where he started all 82 games and averaged 22.3 per? No problem. Antawn Jamison will be the best damn 6th man he can be….in fact, he went on to win the NBA’s 6th man of the year for that 03-04 season, ironically his 6th in the league. Jamison can be described with many distinguishing terms, yet he is the man with no nickname. Who knows if it will stick, but I would like to dub Antawn Jamison, “The Gentleman.”
[Basketball-Reference.com needs to drastically alter their Hall of Fame Probability equation. Currently, among "active" players, Jamison is #29 while falling behind the likes of Vince Carter (#8), Stephon Marbury (#18), Steve Francis (#19), Antoine Walker (#22), Chris Webber (#13), and our Gilbert Arenas (#15). Hmm...guess you can't measure heart with math.]
But why doesn’t Gilbert Arenas get it?
Fans of the Washington Wizards should undoubtedly be proud of the recent leadership doled out by Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. Sure, we are used to seeing them lead by example, but it’s rare that they speak out, at least to the media.
“All this talking through the media about this or that is really beneath me, and I’m kind of disappointed that my teammates kind of bought into it. We’ve got to do more of letting our game do the talking. I’ve been saying that from day one. So nothing has changed in my corner. They know what to expect out of me when I come in that locker room. So nothing has changed at all.”
Antawn Jamison before game 5 via DC Sports Bog
“Don’t judge this team by comments, LeBron made a statement: ‘these guys are talkers’ but unless you hear something from the captains, which would be myself and Antawn, don’t label that as the team. I’m the voice of this team and Antawn is the spiritual and emotional leader so unless you hear it from one of us, keep it moving.”
Caron Butler after game 5 via Wizards Insider
“All the talk, all the silliness had gotten so much attention, it was time to just play ball. We were down 3-1, on the brink of elimination, I just told them that all this talking was not making them look bad, it was making us look bad. We’re a veteran team and it was time for us to start acting like it.
We’ve got a lot of personalities on our team. Sometimes you can tame them, sometimes you can’t. But this was out of hand. I told them: ‘You can’t get your point across through the media. You have to get your point across on the court.’ That’s what they were doing. They’ve been just staying quiet and playing. For Caron and myself, it was just difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, I love D-Steve and I love Gil, and I’ll strap it up with them anytime. You have to have your teammates’ backs, but what was going on was just nonsense. It had nothing to do with getting respect, because you can only do that by playing well and demonstrating professionalism. You make your noise that way.”
Antawn Jamison after game 5 via Michael Wilbon’s column in the Washington Post
I keep hoping that Gilbert Arenas (and DeShawn Stevenson) will learn from these two…..and Gil seems to say the right thing every now and then. But I open this morning’s Washington Express (a free mini-print-edition of the news produced by the Washington Post for those not in DC), and I read this:
“We stopped talking because they’ve been giving us technicals and fouls. That’s why.”
Really Gilbert? You just don’t get it, do you? And here I was, thinking that the talking ceased because of Caron’s words…..because of Antawn’s words. Or even because it made you and DeShawn look like idiots, not to mention that it wasn’t exactly working (of course, I should include Haywood in on this criticism….even if his comments were in mocking jest. Nonetheless, they didn’t help either). All that and Arenas doesn’t feel one bit selfish for putting hit teammates in an awkward position. Gilbert’s excuse is to place blame on the referees and not on the actions of the team. Pardon the expression….but that is bull, shit.
Some may wonder why it took so long for Jamison and Butler to speak up about the locker room antics. No one actually knew where all the talk would lead the Wizards. Of course, many had an intuition that it wasn’t a good idea…but even I minimized the significance of “talking trash” and thought that the Wizards would back it up.
We still don’t know if all the pre- and during series talk has really had an effect on any of the game outcomes. I’d say it’s minimal at best. But the fact is that nonsensical verbiage is inconsiderate towards your teammates.
It’s safe to say that Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler expected more from DeShawn Stevenson, and especially Gilbert Arenas. They hoped that it wouldn’t get to the point of having to speak up in such a manner. After all, Gilbert Arenas is supposed to be a team captain, right? Too bad he hasn’t acted like one. His immaturity has unfortunately usurped the leadership of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison….and the title of this blog post.