Gilbert Arenas has been my favorite player since he first joined the Wizards—he was the epitome of the pro who could talk the talk and back it up on the court. He was quirky, genuinely funny, and knocked down buzzer beaters like they were free throws.
Even when Agent Zero went down with knee injuries, I stuck by him, confident that he would make a full recovery and bring greatness back to D.C. basketball. Now, after he faces possible felony gun charges, I say with a heavy sports heart that those days of cheering for him are probably over.
I want Gilbert to come back to Washington with the situation behind him, and watch Arenas prove everyone wrong again, but I know that’s unlikely. His behavior is the excuse GM Ernie Grunfeld has been looking for to get rid of him.
Here’s why: the Wizards stink, and Gil has a $111 million contract. That’s a lot of dough they could spend this offseason.
You know it’s a bad sign when Gilbert’s face has been removed from the banners surrounding the Wizards court. He’s also noticeably absent from the pre-game introduction videos atop the Verizon Center.
Even those No. 0 jerseys are out of the arena.
Can I blame the Wizards for making those moves? No.
Bringing weapons, loaded or not, into an NBA locker room is right up there with yelling bomb at an airport—no one is dumb enough to do it.
Or so I thought.
The NBA has taken a very strong anti-gun and anti-violence stance this past decade, so there was no chance David Stern wasn’t going to come down hard on Arenas. He will be suspended for the rest of this season, that’s a guarantee.
He could get cut from the Wizards, and if that’s the case, his next team will have to hire a PR bodyguard to protect Arenas from himself.
Early on in Arenas’s career with D.C., he started writing a blog on NBA.com. It was an interesting read because it was the first time fans had an inside look at an NBA player’s personal life via the web.
After reading Arenas’s various out-of-line tweets during the gun controversy last week, I quickly realized that his NBA.com blog was probably heavily edited.
Usually, when you have possible criminal charges and a suspension looming, it’s best to hide away for a while. Instead, Arenas tweeted about how unfairly the media was portraying him, and how he’s the NBA’s John Wayne.
And this was the same guy who originally claimed he wasn’t going to use Twitter until his account hit 1,000,000 followers (he was 990,000 followers short of that when he started tweeting).
Even worse, the last game before his suspension, Gil pretended to shoot his own players. Not the best idea.
Arenas’s twitter account has since been deleted, and similarly, the Wizards are feverishly trying to delete Gilbert from D.C. basketball fans’ memory banks. Obviously though, Ernie Grunfeld isn’t Will Smith from Men in Black, and the harsh cleansing of Arenas memorabilia doesn’t overshadow the fact that ESPN is only talking about the Wizards because of a gun controversy.
If Gilbert cares even one bit about what the NBA or its fans think of him, which at this point doesn’t seem very likely, he should at least come out with a true apology. Don’t give it over Twitter, and don’t hire a lawyer to administer the speech.
He doesn’t even need to address the gun issue specifically; he can pull a Tiger Woods and tell of his “indiscretions” for all I care. It’s a matter of admitting fault, which will be his first step to recovery in David Stern’s watchful eyes and the eyes of star-struck fans like me.
For once, Gilbert, don’t crack a joke.
Give me a chance to forgive, because I want to forget the bad times, and remember the good.
This article is also available on vype.com.