Antawn Jamison Calls Cleveland “Home”

One look around the Cavaliers practice facility at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio and the casual fan would have a tough time putting names to a lot of faces.  Gone are LeBron James, Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas;  in attendance are players such as Joey Graham, Christian Eyenga and Ryan Hollins.  But while many of these new players are still getting acclimated to the Cleveland area, Antawn Jamison is home.

“This is home for me,” said Jamison earlier this week.  “It’s starting to feel like home.  I have my patterns down and I know exactly what’s going on.  Last year was a whirlwind, trying to get everything down and get used to everybody.  I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and it feels like it’s supposed to feel.”

Coming over in the trade that sent Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the team’s 2010 first-round draft choice to the Washington Wizards, Jamison admitted that things happened a lot quicker than he had anticipated.  Between the bevy of injuries to various players like Shaquille O’Neal and Mo Williams, Jamison – one of the league’s most respected players on and off of the court – said that his main goal was to help this Cavaliers team win while not rocking the boat in terms of chemistry.

But since the departure of LeBron James, there has been a considerable amount of piling on the city of Cleveland.  Likely dating back to the opening playoff series with the Chicago Bulls and Joakim Noah’s infamous description of Cleveland’s nightlife  (“It’s bad, man.  Really bad.) or Braylon Edwards claims of “no social networking,” major media outlets have added some salt into the wounds at any possible moment.  Whether the low blows are via a Jordan-Ehlo montage or ESPN’s Stuart Scott referring to Cleveland fans as “those poor people,” Jamison has seemingly taken the flip side of that coin, defending his new home town when given the opportunity.

“I don’t have a problem with Cleveland at all,” said Jamison. “I know a lot of people talk a certain way about Cleveland but it’s really starting to grow on me. It’s going to be fun.  I’m definitely excited about getting things going, to start competing and playing basketball.”

Though his family will be staying in North Carolina and he continues to have contact with his former teammates in Washington DC (Jamison says that we can expect the “Gilbert Arenas of old” to be back this season), the veteran forward knows that his role in Cleveland has multiple folds.  With many of the former leaders now playing elsewhere, Jamison will have to take the younger players under his wing from a leadership standpoint as well as a coaching standpoint.  With a new offensive scheme in town, one that Jamsion says he knows like the back of his hand, he will be counted on to be more vocal with the team and an all-around bigger face for the franchise.

A part of the latter responsibility, as Jamison is well aware, is endearing himself to the city of Cleveland and the fans who the team hopes will continue to support them night in and night out despite the fact that a 60-win season appears to be a pipe dream.

Though what the 2010-11 season has to offer may not be exactly what Jamison envisioned when he was traded to the Cavaliers last February, the veteran power forward states that he will not only be taking on a vocal leadership role this season, but is still happy to be here even despite the current roster being considerably further from a championship than it was a season prior.

“I don’t think twice about it,” said Jamison. “I’m here, I’m here for a reason, and we’re going to make the best of it.  We have a great group of guys, they still joke around and have a good time.  This is where I’m supposed to be.”

(Scott Shaw / The Plain Dealer)

  • MattyFos

    If this was really his home, he wouldn’t have wished #6 luck and hoped #6 wins his championships after he left Cleveland… TAWN is just trying to get back on the good side of Cleveland fans.

  • JK

    +1 Matty

  • stin4u

    He’s a good guy but he’ll probably be calling somewhere else home at some point this year.

  • MattyFos

    +1 JK

    For recognizing greatness.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “He’s a good guy but he’ll probably be calling somewhere else home at some point this year.”

    Unlikely with two years and $28 million still left on his contract.

  • Harv 21

    Remember him during one of Cavs series with the Wiz sitting at a painful post-game presser, the only player manning up when he was maybe the smallest part of the problem.

    Doesn’t matter what he really thinks about the town. This guy never fails to say or do the right thing on every team he’s on. Good example of a guy who appears to have been raised right, and the league could benefit by a few more like him.

  • Chris

    Sorry Matty, but that’s crap. Jamison has always been a class guy, going back to Carolina and probably before that. He’s never said an ill word about anyone, and he won’t start now. Jamison is one of the good guys, he won’t start trashing people because he feels it’s what you or any other fan wants to hear. It simply isn’t in his DNA.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    “Unlikely with two years and $28 million still left on his contract.”

    Well, the Cavaliers took him with three years and $40 million left on his contract, so it’s not out of the question that a team would take him on. Plus, it will really be just one year at $15 million left on his contract for the team who takes him.

    I’m not saying he will definitely be traded, but I think it’s more likely to happen than you do.

  • JK

    -1 Chris

  • JPS3

    How can anyone not like Jamison the person? I don’t understand some of our fans.

  • The Other Tim

    Will this “feeling” translate into defense?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    He isn’t petty and bitter like the loudest of LeBron critics, so he must be made of wood! BURN HIM!

  • sealedhuman

    Yes, Mattyfos and JK.

    @Denny, Got a match?

    @Chris, when did classy become politically correct and completely neutral?

    I have no problems with Antwan, and I’m glad he is on our team, but I would appreciate him even more if he was a bit more open and honest. I can’t imagine that he had no opinion whatsoever about The Decision.

    I would never expect Antwan (or any player) to trash LBJ in the media, but they certainly don’t have to wish him luck.

  • MattyFos

    Chris-

    He can be classy. Believe me, I know Jamison is a stand up guy and I respect him and the character he brings to the NBA.

    But, when you get left at the door waiting for your prom date and you see her driving by in a convertible with two other dudes. Then they honk the horn and throw paint filled balloons at you and your house… You can’t say “Well I hope she has fun” there has to be a bitter taste in your mouth, hoping they crash and burn (hypothetically, not actually. I don’t wanna wish harm on anybody)

  • stin4u

    sour grapes much? I hate Lebron as much as the next guy but don’t bag on a former teammate just because he won’t go all Shaq-fu on him.

  • sealedhuman
  • mgbode

    “when you get left at the door waiting for your prom date and you see her driving by in a convertible with two other dudes”

    well, if that was her idea of a 3-some, then you are probably best left going to the prom alone anyway :)

  • Paul

    I moved to Chapel Hill from Ohio in the mid 90’s for work. Most of the Carolina teams and players were easy to dislike (Wallace, Carter, Forte, Hansbourough, etc) but Jamison was a very classy kid while he was here. He very rarely took credit for the wins and always took responsibility for the losses. Good guy in my book. Still needs to work on his defense though.

  • Dave

    Antawn’s reaction to LeBron leaving sounds an awful lot like a post-breakup “Have a nice life, I’m moving on.” Which is probably the healthiest response possible.

    As far as being at home in Cleveland, compare the team culture of the Cavs to the team culture of the Wizards, and I think you’ll see immediately why he’s happy here. I mean, who would you rather work with: Mo Williams, or Deshawn Stevenson?

  • Big Show

    You know, I don’t want to see him or any of these guys traded. Maybe they are just saving face, maybe they truly want to be here. I hope its the latter, but don’t care. We have a very solid character wise group right now who all say they want to be here. We signed or traded for them, so lets support them and let them play. I am at a point where I’d rather watch a team who wants to play here than what we went through this summer. Now I sadly can only afford to go to 3-4 games a year so I know my money doesn’t mean much, but its how I feel.

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