He knew he was close. Shoot, everyone did. You don’t exactly creep up on a milestone like 20,000 career points in the NBA.
Antawn Jamison had come into that game with the Boston Celtics on Dec. 11, 2013 with 19,997 points to his credit. He was in the twilight of his career – this was his 16th and as it turned out, final season – but that night Jamison joined some elite company when he hit a 3-pointer in the second period.
That three-pointer wound up being the only points Jamison scored that night in Boston. Even so, it was an unforgettable evening for the former University of North Carolina All-American who is one of only 44 NBA players to reach that plateau.
“The circumstances were a little bit different because I wasn’t playing that much,” Jamison told the Washington Times in 2016. “I just remember afterwards, (Clippers coach) Doc Rivers came in with the ball and said, ‘’Congratulations, man. That’s a hell of an accomplishment.’
“I got the shoes and the jersey and all that stuff. One day when I calm down, kind of do a little collage of everything. Definitely have that ball up on the mantle. The accumulation of my whole career kind of came down to one shot.”
Not exactly. Jamison, who played for six different teams in the NBA, finished his career with 20,042 points, 8,157 rebounds and 1,761 assists. He was a two-time NBA All-Star, won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2004 and was a member of the United States national team in 2006.
For his accomplishments, Jamison, who is now the director of pro personnel for the Washington Wizards, has been named the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame’s December Member of the Month. He was inducted in 2016.
The Charlotte native had several other memorable nights in December, too – including scoring a career-high 51 points against the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 and matching that total the following night against the Los Angeles Lakers. His Golden State Warriors lost the first game but won the second.
Jamison, who was a McDonald’s All-American at Providence High School in Charlotte, also had a standout career at UNC. He averaged 19 points and 9.9 rebounds during a three-year career that culminated in 1998 with his selection as the winner of both the Naismith Award and the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s top collegiate player.
The three years he spent in Chapel Hill were special for Jamison. In addition to that 20,000-point ball and jersey, Jamison told the Times he has memorabilia from those days playing for legendary coach Dean Smith that he wants to put into a display.
“Those are like the two final things basketball-wise that I want to really put some time and effort in and do something special,” Jamison said. “With the 20,000 points that’s a whole accumulation of pretty much my whole career.
“And of course, Coach Smith, who means the world to me, I want to do something special so when I’m dead and gone, whatever, my kids can hang it up.”