[Editor's Note: Part 8 of 20. Kdp is up next with Chris Webber. Enjoy this profile from facedkr. -PM]
Antawn Jamison has a misspelled birth certificate to thank for his unique first name. The Wizards have 'Tawn to thank for their reentry into respectability.
Winner of the ACC POY, Naismith, and Wooden awards in 98 playing for UNC. Leaving after his Junior year as a highly touted prospect he was acquired in a draft day trade by Golden state. After 5 years starting in Oakland he was the main piece of a 9 player deal moving him to Dallas where he came off the bench to the tune of 6th Man of the Year. In 2004, another draft day trade brought Antawn to Washington.
Since Jamison has only spent 3 years in Washington, he is a questionable addition to the top 20. But his impact has been felt in his short time here.
Paired with Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes, Jamison rounded out the Big Three in 04-05. Jamison and Arenas represented the 'Zards at the Allstar game, the first time since the Malones in 1987 that 2 Washington players were honored. Jamison averaged 19.5 pts, 7.5 reb, and 2.1 ast. The insertion of Jamison into the Wizards starting lineup reaped big rewards as they made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. (sorry i couldn't find the full body picture with Gil's hot red kicks.)
In 06-07 he missed 12 games, the Wizards going 4-8 without him. He became the 17th active player to score 10,000 points along with 4,000 rebounds. With 20.5 points per game contributed to make Arenas-Butler-Jamison the highest scoring trio in the league.
My personal feelings on Jamison have had their peaks and valleys. My initial reaction to his presence was of exhileration. Bringing an obvious star to join Arenas made me smell playoffs. Being that I was only 6 years old the last time the franchise had a postseason, I immediately latched on to Jamison as the savior. Jamison, Arenas and Hughes quickly made the Wizards contenders. Making the playoffs and winning in the first round against Chicago. Now this was a big deal for me. As a native Washingtonian I had gotten used to the Wizards/Bullets not contending for a playoff berth. 2004 was a depressing year for a sports fan in this area as the Caps missed the playoffs for only the 4th time in 21 years. Not only that, but they were the worst team in the league. Then as the 2004 basketball season got underway, Hockey was canceled. I was devestated as it looked like the NHL might even consider taking away our franchise!! Now I know this is a Wizards blog, but the combination of the "fall of the NHL" and the arrival of Jamison helped boost interest in the team. With Jordan gone from Washington (finally) attendance dropped in 2003-2004 by about 25%. Once Antawn arrived, attendance jumped back up to a respectable level (14/30). And the playoffs. Three straight years in the post season after virtual ineptitude. Its no coincidence that Jamison's arrival brought excitement back to the Wizards.
Now from time to time, I along with others have soured on Jamison's contributions. He reguarly displays his inability to get back on defense, and sometimes seems to take a back seat in on the court leadership. But his presence is felt. He single-handedly lifted the team when Arenas and Butler were out last year. Many Wizards look to Antawn for leadership as Ernie says, "He's a true professional, he sacrifices for the benefit of the team and does whatever is necessary, he's never late, he always does things the right way. He's great for us." (Washington Post, 3/2/07)
I hope Antawn stays here for a while. I can honestly see him holding the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy over his head in a Washington Jersey.