Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/31/12
EL SEGUNDO, CA Ask anyone connected with the NBA and theyll tell you what a great guy Antawn Jamison isin bad times as well as good. Most of his career has been spent with under .500 teams, and tiring from the lack of team success, he took about a 13.7 million dollar pay cut to sign with the Lakers. He also gave up the guarantee of playing time he would have had with many other clubs in order to chase his championship dream. After a slow start under Mike Brown, once Mike DAntoni took over, Jamison experienced a Laker rebirth, averaging 15.8 points during a seven-game stretch. He started, he came in off the bench and he was productive. It looked like Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had acquired another impact player during the offseason to go with the trade for Dwight Howard and the signing of Steve Nash. Thenseemingly out of the blue--Jamisons rejuvenation came to an abrupt halt. Its gotten so bad for the power forward that he and his career 19.2 points per game average can no longer even get a minute of playing time, sitting out five games in a row for what he said was the first time he can remember. Following last Friday nights DNP-Coachs decision, the normally affable Jamison had had enough. He told reporters that DAntoni didnt even explain why he was dropped from the rotation. "My only thing is let me know why, Jamison told the L. A. Times. I don't think you go from starting and 30-something minutes to not in the rotation whatsoever. And not explaining to me what exactly happened, that's the toughest thing. There's nothing you can do but be positive and support your teammates. The only reason I came here was they said I was going to play and to win a championship." DAntonias is his styleplayed it down after Sundays practice, saying there was no problem between him and Jamison. Hes the most professional, nicest guy and good (player), DAntoni said. He didnt do anything to get out of the rotation. Im just going a little different way. I thought Metta World Peace would give us a little more toughness and defense, and thats his role. I know you (reporters) all have a job to do, and if you go to a player after a game and he hasnt played, hes going to be upset. And stuff comes out. But we dont have any problem that I know of. Jamison didnt blame the media for his commentsquite the opposite. He said he shouldnt have said anything and that he was ready to put it behind him. The timing wasnt good, Jamison said candidly after Sundays workout about his statements of Friday. Of course you want to be out there and you want to compete. (But) the most important thingand the reason that I came herewas to win. And were winning, which overrules anything. Im a competitor and I want to compete, but I came here to not only win, but to win a championship. If that calls for me to be a cheerleader, or to coach some of the guys Im sitting on the bench next to, Im willing to do that. Ive had all the individual success you could possibly have. But most importantly, its about being there for your teammates and winning a championship. Id rather be in L.A. winning basketball games with a chance to contend, instead of being in some other city (with a record) at 5 and 30. Its been tough, but Im still enjoying myself. It feels good to come in and start winning. Thats the most important thing right now. Anytime you mention the words championship and ring to Jamison, his face starts beaming with anticipation and hope. Nothing had changed as of Sunday. Its the only thing that drives me, the only thing that pushes me, he said. Its the only reason why Im still doing what Im doing, because I have yet to experience that. Thats the only thing that pretty much wakes me up (and) makes me want to go to work. If it was to happen for me, it would be the best thing that ever happened in my career. If it doesnt, it wasnt meant for it to happen. Its important to me. Its the only thing I have left to do. And maybe to get DAntoni to tell him why hes not playing anymore.
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