Antawn Jamison wore the blue and gold (actually, the blue, burnt orange, yellow and ridiculous lightning bolts) of the Golden State Warriors for five ignominious seasons. Technically, he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the 1998 NBA draft. A subsequent trade—straight up for Tarheel teammate Vince Carter—brought him to Oakland.
Jamison came to epitomize a specific player type for the Warriors—one which the franchise fell for and overvalued for many seasons after Jamison departed. He was essentially a solid bench scorer who was cast as a No. 1 option on offense. For verification of his optimal role, check out Jamison’s ultra-efficient career season as the Dallas Mavericks‘ sixth man in 2003-04.
Forced into major minutes by a complete lack of offensive talent, Jamison did his best to shoulder the scoring load. And for all his warts as a player—Jamison’s an awful defender and passer—he did manage to score despite the bulk of the opposition’s defensive attention. Jamison managed to be so successful (relative term) because there’s really not any defense for the things he does well: shoot quick floaters and use his pogo-stick second jump to tap in offensive rebounds.
His awkward style and unpredictable offensive repertoire led to scoring averages of 19.6, 24.9, 19.7 and 22.2 points per game from the 1999-00 season through the 2002-03 campaign.
Jamison wrote himself into the history books in 2000-01 by becoming joining Michael Jordan as the only NBA players to score more than 50 points in back-to-back games. Jamison pulled off the trick, scoring exactly 51 against Seattle on December 3 and Los Angeles on December 6. Amazingly Kobe Bryant also scored 50 in that second contest.
There’s no getting around it: Jamison was a good Warrior. He always showed great effort and he absolutely maximized his somewhat unusual talents. He’s definitely not to blame for the Warriors horrendous record during his tenure, as he was just the best option on a terrible series of teams.
Jamison’s long career—he’s entering his 14th season this year, and figures to be a major bench asset for the Los Angeles Lakers—is a testament to the effectiveness of his quirky offensive style and his willingness to fill the role his team requires of him. He’s a pro’s pro.
Antawn Jamison checks in at a worthy No. 4 on the list of the Golden State Warriors’ top 10 players since 2000.
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