by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Having spent much of his NBA life toiling away on crummy teams, Antawn Jamison has rarely gotten opportunities to chase a title. That, obviously, changed as soon as he joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

In sharp contrast with his collegiate days, Jamison has played most of his pro career in relative anonymity (despite posting solid, borderline Hall of Fame numbers).

Antawn appreciates the opportunity that’s now in front of him, and says that he “deserves” to win it all.

From Grantland:

“If I win a championship, I’ll be put in a different category,” he said. “I know where I am with the totals, the averages, the scoring list or whatever. But I didn’t win in high school. I didn’t win in college. To have such a roller coaster career in the pros and to be a professional night-in and night-out and to know I put in the work and did all those things I needed to do to be successful, man … “

And here, the composed, intelligent veneer with which Jamison conducts his media responsibilities broke down for a second. He smiled broadly, looked up at the rafters, and said, “Man, I deserve it. I want one bad. I envision it all. I envision holding that trophy up, I envision going to that parade, I envision getting that ring. It’s the only thing that keeps me motivated, having my name associated with a champion. I just deserve it.”

To say that anyone “deserves” to win the ultimate prize is a stretch, but you’d have a difficult time arguing that Antawn Jamison hasn’t (at the very least) earned the opportunity to compete for it.