Tonight is the third time, with his third team, that DeShawn Stevenson has been back to play in D.C. since he was traded away in February 2010.
As a member of the Dallas Mavericks, before they won the title, Stevenson returned to Washington, played two minutes and missed one shot in a February 2011 contest, a 105-99 Dallas win. As a member of the New Jersey Nets last season, Stevenson made a brief 12 second appearance at the Verizon Center in a 90-84 Nets win on opening night of a lockout-shortened season. Now, as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, having been traded last summer in the Joe Johnson deal, Stevenson returns to Washington, yet again.
Take the opportunity to speak with DeShawn before Tuesday night’s Wizards-Hawks matchup? Certainly.
TAI: Anything to being back here in D.C., or has all that passed by now?
DS: “It feels good being back. You know, I was here for five years, so it feels good to be back in the city, seeing the arena, the roads and everything. So, I kind of miss it.”
TAI: You’re having a bounce-back year, what has been the key to that?
[Note: Stevenson’s PER of 11.0 this year is his highest since 2007-08 (12.6).]
DS: “I just got in shape. I worked out hard this summer. I think after the year I won the championship, I was just, you know, chillin’ at the house, just not really working out. This year I just took the effort to get my game back on track.”
TAI: What was that thing with Deron Williams back in October? Why would that come out?
[Note: In an offseason interview with ESPN Magazine, Williams called out some teammates in New Jersey for taking losing as a joke, but he didn’t mention any names. Nonetheless, Stevenson didn’t take too kindly and fired back on Twitter. Stevenson later apologized to Williams for his outburst.]
DS: “It was something that was said I guess in the paper or on the Internet. But we talked about it and squashed it. You know, it’s over with. He said he wasn’t talking to me, talking about a different scenario. So, you got to take his word for it.”
TAI: You’re being looked at as a leader in Atlanta. Are you doing anything different now than you did in Washington or at other stops?
[Note: Atlanta Coach Larry Drew said DeShawn has been a "tremendous and pleasant surprise" for the Hawks his season (video below).]
DS: “Just trying to be a leader by example, not really vocal. I was blessed to be on a great team and win the championship, so I think a lot of people understand that I know basketball. But other than that, I just try to lead by example.”
TAI: Gilbert Arenas is playing over in China, do you keep up with him?
DS: “Yea, I keep up with everybody that I played with — Nick Young, Caron Butler, obviously [Brendan] Haywood, ‘Tawn [Jamison] — I think we had a special team here and it’s like family, so I always look to keep up with them.”
TAI: You guys did have a special team, but the way it all came apart, do you guys ever talk about that?
DS: “Yea, we always talk about that. I think we was all young. You know, everybody on the team pretty much got new money and was trying to make something happen. We had a great team, but you know, took three of the pieces and won a championship with it, so…”
TAI: Do you feel you could’ve done something different to not allow things to escalate so much?
DS: “Yea, but I think in life you gotta learn by mistakes and situations. So if I don’t think we went through the situation here, I wouldn’t have won the championship, I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. So you gotta go through things.”
Hawks Coach Larry Drew on leadership of DeShawn Stevenson: