Former North Carolina basketball star Antawn Jamison called Rashad McCants a "clown" Thursday in an interview and also said he would like to finish his NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets.
Jamison, who starred for UNC from 1995-98 and had his number retired by the school, did not overlap at UNC with McCants. But Jamison said he got to know McCants a little over the years when he went back over the summers to Chapel Hill and always noticed both McCants' talent and his lack of focus.
McCants, a star on UNC's 2005 national championship team, has alleged in two ESPN television interviews that he saw a variety of academic misconduct at UNC. He has said that tutors frequently wrote his papers, that he only went to class about half the time and that coach Roy Williams knew about the no-show courses McCants took in the African and Afro-American Studies Department (Williams has strongly denied that allegation).
I interviewed Jamison Thursday before he played in a celebrity golf tournament at Ballantyne that benefited Hornets president Fred Whitfield's "Achievements Unlimited Basketball School" for underprivileged kids.
"I just think he's a clown," Jamison said of McCants. "I think he's in a situation where he's looking for attention. It's just sad."
Jamison left a year early for the NBA draft but earned his degree from UNC by going to summer school. He said McCants was trying to "throw a black cloud over everyone who's done it the right way."
"I worked and I earned everything I've ever done," said Jamison, who majored in African American studies and said all his classes were legitimate. He also said of McCants: "Rashad's a good cat.... I just think he's searching.... But don't try to bring down a university because you don't have a good relationship with the coaching staff."
Jamison, 38, is a 16-year NBA veteran who grew up in Charlotte and went to Providence High. He most recently played for the L.A. Clippers last season, although he was not on an NBA roster at the end of the season.
"I still have a lot left in the tank," Jamison said. "I'm trying to play at least another year. Right now I guess we're waiting on the dominoes to fall."
Jamison, a power forward with a career 34.6 three-point percentage, said his agent has reached out to the Hornets about the possibility of a roster spot this coming season but not gotten a definitive answer back. "All they need is a nice 16-year veteran like myself," Jamison said with a laugh. "It'd be good to finish out here."