Writer's Note: This is part 10 of a 15-part series where I review the 2010-11 season of each of the Cavaliers players. Each player will be titled with one of this summer's movies for a little added fun. I couldn't think of any better order to do this so I'm going alphabetically. Today: Antawn Jamison. Up Next: Samardo Samuels
Antawn Jamison came to Cleveland at the trade deadline two years ago with high hopes that he was the last piece the Cavaliers needed to round out their championship team.
Unfortunately that just wasn't the case.
Many people thought that Jamison would be traded last year to a contending team until he went down with a season-ending hand injury at the end of January.
The rumors are still floating around that Jamison will be traded at some point this coming season since he's in the final year of his contract.
But Jamison's immediate future is still right here in Cleveland. And I think the Cavs are very lucky to have him.
A lot of veteran players would have reacted very poorly if in Jamison's situation last year with the Cavs, especially during an epic 26-game losing streak.
But Jamison remained up-beat and encouraging to the young players, showing veteran leadership that was sorely needed. He consistently stated that he didn't want to be traded and that he wanted to be a part of making the Cavs a winner.
The leadership that Jamison displayed over the course of the season is what I really want to focus on. In a season where respected veteran players in Detroit (Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Tracy McGrady) quit on their team and coach I don't think this can be over-stated.
When most players go down with season-ending injuries they usually go back home and work out and rehab on their own apart from the team. That's what Anderson Varejao did. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that necessarily.
But Jamison should be lauded for sticking it out with the team all year even though he wasn't going to play again for the rest of the season. Every game, home or away, he was there in street clothes on the Cavs bench...still leading in word and example.
I saw him going through a hard-core workout on the court before a game late in the season...on the road.
This is a guy who is going to lead by setting the example of hard work.
But we're also all aware that Jamison has no long-term future with the team.
He'll probably be traded mid-season around the trade deadline. And if not he certainly won't be brought back as a free agent at the end of the year.
That's why I was tempted to go the movie "Friends With Benefits" for the title. Because that's basically the relationship between Jamison and the Cavs at this point. Their just together right now for a little fun while it lasts but there's no commitment.
But I decided to stay away from that movie because there are too many ways that that could be misconstrued.
So I opted for "Real Steel." It's not actually a summer flick (comes out in October) so I'm fudging on my rules for the series a little. But there's a lockout right now so we can fudge if we want to.
Hugh Jackman stars in a futuristic fighting flick where actual boxers have been replaced by robots. Jackman's character, a former great boxer himself, has to train a robot to fight and all the while is trying to be a better father to his son.
It looks like it has some good CGI and a very predictable storyline.
Jamison is basically Jackman's character for the Cavs. He's the grizzled veteran who is trying to train the new guys how to win.
Even the movie's tag line applies to the Cavs: "Champions aren't born. They're made."
Cheesy...I know. But the principle is perfect for this Cavs team. Just because we had two top four picks in the draft this summer doesn't mean success will be handed to us. It takes hard work and a dedicated building toward a better future.
And even though he won't be around for long, Antawn Jamison will be a big part of making the Cavs winners in the future.
He is the real steel of the 2011-12 Cleveland Cavaliers.
You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack.
If you missed any of the previous reviews you can follow the links here: Baron Davis, Semih Erden, Christian Eyenga, Alonzo Gee, Daniel Gibson, Joey Graham, Luke Harangody, Omri Casspi, Manny Harris, Ryan Hollins.