Asked a day later about how he felt about that sequence, Crawford defiantly shrugged and said, “We all men here.”
Crawford is rarely one to publicly give his opposition the upper hand because he refuses to allow himself to lose any edge on the court. But what some might view as delusional, Crawford sees as a way of life.
“That’s how I was raised, to be honest. I just didn’t think it was anybody better than me. That’s how it be. From Detroit, you’ve got to be like that,” said Crawford, who threw on a sweatshirt after Tuesday’s practice at Air Canada Center that read, “Detroit vs Everybody.”
Brooklyn Nets all-star guard Joe Johnson, who was Crawford’s teammate for half a season in Atlanta, remembers how he refused to back down in practice and never stopped believing that he belonged on the floor — even with the playoff-tested Hawks featuring more seasoned and established options than a wiry, fearless rookie.
“He’s a confident kind of guy,” Johnson said about Crawford. “He feels as though he’s the best player on the floor. And you can’t knock him for that, but that’s how you’ve got to approach this game.”
Crawford has had a different role since arriving in Washington, where his scoring is usually viewed as a necessity for a team lacking scorers and is often dealing with injuries. The demand has led Crawford to take his share of questionable shots — contested runners, pull-ups over double-teams — that he perhaps shouldn’t. He takes the criticism in stride.
“You’ve got to kind of be a basketball player and be in it to really see it,” Crawford said. “You’ve got to know what the team need regardless of what people think. If you don’t have scorers, you’ve got to score. It’s as simple as that. Regardless of what people are saying, you still got to be you.”
He’s still the kind of guy who isn’t afraid to wear sunglasses at night, or proudly wear a Detroit Tigers cap in a town full of New York Yankees fans during the baseball playoffs, as he did after the Wizards lost to the Nets on Monday at Barclays Center.
With the arrival of promising rookie Bradley Beal, Crawford is in a stiff competition for minutes at the shooting guard spot. The Wizards (1-3) will play the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and Beal has taken over as the starter in the past two preseason games, with Coach Randy Wittman unable to hold back the immense talent of the No. 3 overall pick.