JAMISON HITS 20,000-POINT MARK
BOSTON – The numbers are somewhat staggering.
Clippers forward Antawn Jamison scored his 20,000th career point Wednesday in Boston and he’s already grabbed more than 8,000 rebounds and dished out more than 1,000 assists.
“I’ve been blessed,” the 37-year-old Jamison said. “Sixteen years and having the opportunity to accomplish that says a lot. For me, I wasn’t really paying attention to it until.”
Jamison entered Wednesday’s game needing just three points and reached the 20,000-point milestone by knocking down a 3-pointer from straightaway with 9:21 left in the second quarter.
Clearly, no one stopped the game and on the road there was no video montage to honor Jamison’s accomplishment. But he is in Hall-of-Fame company.
Jamison is one of just 20 players in NBA history to achieve those marks. Fifteen of those are players are already enshrined in Springfield, and the other four (Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan) will most certainly be headed there.
For Jamison, it’s not about whether he has Hall of Fame credentials or not or comparing himself to others to reach the same lofty status. It’s about the basketball journey that took him through Golden State, Washington, Cleveland and stops with the Lakers and Clippers in his 16 NBA seasons.
“When you sit back and think about it, all I’ve been through,” said Jamison, who made two All-Star teams and averaged more than 17 points per game in 12 of his 16 seasons. “All the ups and downs, but most importantly just the longevity, being able to produce year-in-and-year-out. Some of these guys call me 16. It’s been a long journey.”
He is one of just nine active players to eclipse 20,000 points, including his former college teammate Vince Carter, a man he was traded for in a Draft-day deal between the Warriors and Toronto Raptors. Nowitzki, Garnett, Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and LeBron James are the other seven active players to eclipse 20,000.
KEEPING HIM SHINING
In his advanced years Jamison has emerged as a veteran leader and 3-point specialist off the bench. He did not play a minute in the first 14 games this season for the Clippers, a decision that Head Coach Doc Rivers said was made to help preserve Jamison for later in the season.
“I was very honest with him up front,” Rivers said. “I told him up front, ‘If you’re coming in to start or play a ton of minutes, that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to overuse you and if you’re good with that.’ He was fine with that. And I said, ‘My plan is to preserve you.’ He’s a freaking antique, so we’re putting the polish on him and keep him shining and make him look good.”
Jamison’s inclusion in the lineup has bolstered a Clippers bench that struggled earlier in the year. They have emerged as one of the league’s top four scoring units per minute and outscored seven-straight opponents by an average of 17 points per game.
Chris Paul has noticed the difference, too.
“Me and [Antawn] were talking about it,” Paul said. “We are trying to get some minutes together. Coach does an amazing job with the rotation and all the stuff like that. [Antawn] just plays the right way every time down. He knows when to screen. He knows when to pop. He’s going to be a huge piece to our season.”