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ANTAWN'S TAKE: Helping out during the holidays

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The winner of the 1998 Wooden Award and the only Tar Heel other than Jordan to be named AP Player of the Year, is easily one of the NBA's rising young stars. The Golden State forward has averaged at least 19 points per game the last three years and this season he's producing similar numbers to 2000-01, when he averaged 24.9 ppg and posted back-to-back 50-point games.

MY CHRISTMAS DAY
by
Just like all of you, I'm definitely planning to watch the and go at it on Christmas Day.

I'm going to eat, sleep, eat some more and then watch the game. That's one matchup that no one's going to miss because it has such a great storyline with what happened in the preseason and Shaq calling them the "Sacramento Queens" and all that.

I don't think anything dramatic is going to happen, though. These guys are professionals and they're not going to let things get out of hand like they did in the preseason with Fox and Christie. I just think you're going to see two teams playing hard and doing whatever it takes to win the game. Sacramento wants to prove that they can beat L.A. and the want to show everyone that they're still the favorites to win it all again, regardless of their record.

I think it's great that we have another good rivalry like the ones we used to have between the -Knicks, -Pistons, and the old -Celtics. Rivalries are great for basketball because it's always more interesting when two teams really hate each other like the and . That's what basketball is all about, you know what I mean? When you have a team that's been knocking you out of the playoffs every year and keeping you from reaching your goals, you're always going to hate them.

Because of that, I think we're going to see a game on Christmas Day with lots of emotion and guys playing hard because they really want to win. It's going to be more about basketball than fighting or all of the other off-the-court stuff. Sure, there's going to be a lot of trash talking — there always is with Shaq involved — but I don't think it will go further than that, though. All in all, it's just going to be a great basketball game.

I can't wait to have my pumpkin pie and chocolate cake and all those other goodies and just sit back and watch the game. Believe it!
Although I'm in the first year of my big contract, I'm really more concerned about giving back then spending lots of money on myself, especially around the holidays. A lot of you may not believe that, but my mother's always instilled in me that life's not about how much money you make, but about how much you give to those around you. For that reason, I decided to pull off a charity campaign in my hometown of Charlotte called, "A Better Tomorow." Its main goal is to help emphasize the importance of education and help those less fortunate.

I was actually born in Shreveport, Louisianna, but I was raised and went to high school in Charlotte. So no matter where I travel or play basketball, my heart will always be in Charlotte. After all, my parents still live there and that's where my brother goes to high school.

That's why I've decided to carry out a local Christmas campaign that ' owner George Shinn originally thought of. After the team made the move to New Orleans, it was brought to my attention that most of the community programs they had started were going to be abandoned. Charlotte isn't the richest city and there are a lot of people in need of assistance, so I knew I had to do something to help out.

One of the projects that was lost was Shinn's Shoe Program, which provided 300 pairs of shoes to the men at the Uptown Shelter for the past 13 years on Christmas Eve . It really hurt me to think that there were people in my hometown who are cold and sad at Christmas time, so it wasn't a hard decision for me to step in, especially when I found out that it wouldn't take place without someone else's support. If a donation can make the men at Uptown more comfortable and lift their spirits during the holidays, I think it's money well spent.

I just wish that I could be there personally to distribute the shoes, but my NBA schedule won't permit it, unfortunately . Maybe next year I'll be able to be there to help out. Actually, now that Robert Johnson has control of the next Charlotte franchise, maybe we'll pull it off together. I'm really happy that there's another team coming to Charlotte and hopefully we can combine efforts and provide more service projects for the city than ever before.

The holidays just seemed like the appropriate time to let these folks know they're not forgotten and that some of us really do care about them. Christmas is supposed to be the time to remember that it's always better to give than receive, and that's what I'm focused on doing. I always plan to stay in touch with my roots in North Carolina and I'll never forget who I am or where I came from, regardless of how much money I make.

I'm also establishing a program with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System to help reward students that make the extra effort in their studies, and I'm going to give out college scholarships at my former high school, too.

I just feel really blessed this Christmas and I want everyone else to have the same feeling. My family's traveling here to Oakland to be with me and I'm having a huge party at my home for my family, friends and teammates.

Whatever your plans are this week, I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone out there, especially my fans. Have a great holiday and a happy New Year!
Tagged: Warriors, Wizards, Antawn Jamison

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