Antawn Jamison heads into Wizards-Cavaliers game on another disastrous team
Antawn Jamison is not cursed. Bad karma, he maintains, has nothing to do with why he keeps ending up on bad basketball teams that used to be good.
But some kind of cruel fate must be at work, if only because he is the lone common denominator in perhaps the worst back-to-back franchise collapses in NBA annals.
"I remember Ernie [Grunfeld] telling me last year about this time, 'You deserve an opportunity to go get a ring,' " Jamison said, referring to the Wizards team president sending him to Cleveland via a trade. "The team was on pace to win 60 games. I was going to play with LeBron [James]. At the moment, you're happy to be in that situation.
"D. C. was a second home to me, so there were mixed feelings. But dealing with the disappointments of what was going on in D.C. then, losing Mr. Pollin, the gun situation with Gilbert [Arenas], I mean, I finally had a chance to play for a championship. I was excited."
Mercifully freed from Arenas cleanup duty before last February's trade deadline, his hopes of winning it all in Washington long gone, Jamison incredibly went from the lottery-bound Wizards to the team with the best record in pro basketball, the Cavaliers, in mere minutes.
Worst to first, just like that.
But within months, another cruel tease. Another star left Jamison high and dry - this one went to Miami instead of a Montgomery County halfway house. Suddenly he found himself on a historically awful squad. Like, 26-losses-in-a-row awful.
The Cavs, 61-21 a season ago, are now so dreadful that their win over the Clippers on Friday night, their first since Dec. 18, saved them from breaking a record for futility in pro sports, set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976 and 1977.
"I didn't think he was leaving," Jamison said of LeBron. "They loved him in Cleveland. Michael Jordan stayed with the Bulls. Isiah [Thomas] stayed with the Pistons. That was the type of situation I thought we were dealing with. Once I found out, there was maybe a little disappointment for a day or two. But I didn't think we'd have the season we're having."
Post LBJ, it's all about managing the pain in Cleveland, or, for Jamison, prolonging your former team's misery.
In this installment of Cavs-Wiz at Quicken Loans Arena, Washington hopes to end a 25-game careen off an embankment, the third worst road skid to open a season in NBA history. It's the underwhelming force vs. the resistible opponent, and something's got to give. The Q on Sunday night is essentially the octagon - for mice. Two rodents enter, one leaves.
"I don't know how it all happened, but the things that could have gone wrong on the teams I played for went wrong," Jamison said.