Antawn Jamison: Because of Wizards, they’re ‘having fun in D.C. again’

(Alex Brandon/AP)
(Alex Brandon/AP)

The fortunes of the Wizards have changed so quickly, from national punchline to national darlings. And it feels like with that change, the playoff teams of the 2000s have almost instantly gained a sort of rosy nostalgic glow. Once, the Gilbert Era was seen as a missed opportunity or, worse, the harbinger of the Nick and JaVale Era. But now, local kids who grew up during a few thrilling if disappointing seasons can again wear their Butler and Jamison jerseys with pride.

Which is why — just a few days after Gilbert Arenas appeared on local airwaves — it wasn’t surprising to hear Antawn Jamison on ESPN 980 Thursday afternoon.

“Those guys have really bought in to what the coaching staff has preached,” Jamison said of this year’s team. “And I’m happy not only for those guys, but most importantly just for the city of D.C. Man, they deserved it. And I’m glad they’re down there having fun in D.C. again.”

That’s essentially the only thing that mattered. Jamison went on to give his thoughts on things like Andre Miller, and the Clippers, and Donald Sterling, and his own future. But hearing the one-time leader of a briefly lovable Wizards team express his genuine happiness for Washington was kind of the key moment.

Jamison and friends came close to doing something special here, but it ended very badly, and we all had to kind of look awkwardly away and pretend none of it happened. But now we can move past that, as a group. Let’s all hug.

Jamison did explain why he thinks the Wizards have found so much success in recent weeks.

“Nobody is worrying about who’s getting the notoriety or who’s getting all the fans,” he said. “Guys are just going out there competing and they’re playing together. And this is a back court that’s gonna be hopefully in place for the next eight to 10 years. So you can just imagine if they can continue to stay together and they continue to play with each other how much success they could have, because the more you play with each other the better you become as teammates.

“Those two guys get it,” he said of John Wall and Bradley Beal. “It kind of reminds me of how myself and Gilbert kind of fed off each other. I understood him and he understood me. It’s impressive to see those two guys take the court together, and go out there and compete. And the type of chemistry — they seem like they’re not only great teammates but great friends off the court. And I think that’s what you need in order to be successful, and I think the wizards have that with those two guys.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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