Early afternoon on Jan. 15, 2010, NBA basketball superstar Gilbert Arenas, as a part of a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license.
This charge stemmed from a reported dispute at Verizon Center with teammate Javaris Crittenton. Arenas is set to have his sentencing hearing on March 26.
In the reported dispute between teammate Javaris Crittenton and Arenas, on a flight from Phoenix to Washington after the Wizards game vs. the Suns on Dec. 19, the two supposedly got into an argument over a card game.
The following day, Arenas was reported to have come to the locker room with a backpack full of weapons and placed them on Crittenton’s chair with a note stating, “Pick One.”
This was not the first incidence that has led Arenas down a bumpy road. In early January, Arenas received notice from the NBA Commissioner that he would be suspended indefinitely.
In his released statement, NBA Commissioner David Stern stated, “Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game."
"Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately, pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”
The mention of Arenas’ “actions” refers to a game in Philadelphia where Arenas pointed his fingers at his teammates as though he had a gun.
It has been one hard hit after another for Arenas. He will not have any more franchise-breaking 60 point games in a Wizards jersey, and sustaining the relationships with his teammates is up in the air.
It is safe to say that Arenas' future is becoming seemingly uncertain. I am sure Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards wish to distance themselves from Arenas as quickly as possible.
It is very likely that management will seek to void the remaining $80 million dollars or so of Arenas' $111 million dollar contract; he has already lost over a $1 million dollars in the last seven games that he has missed.
In a statement released by the Wizards team last Friday afternoon, they stated, “Gilbert Arenas has been a cornerstone of the Washington Wizards for six years. We are deeply saddened and disappointed in his actions that have led to the events of this afternoon. Gilbert used extremely poor judgment and is ultimately responsible for his own actions."
Perhaps he should have taken a lesson from rap icons Lil Wayne and T.I., who like Arenas faced felony gun charges earlier this year.
It looks to me as if both the Wizards as well as Arenas need a fresh start, and both will get one in due time.
Although prosecution admitted that they would not seek the maximum allowed sentence, which could potentially be five years of incarceration, Arenas could face up to six months in prison; the minimum sentence allowed.
Arenas has a long hard road ahead of him, one that will require him to look deep into these last few months and re-evaluate where he wishes to go from here.
In a statement released by Arenas, he notes “Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong.” It appears that perhaps he is now feeling the ramifications of his ill-advised actions. Rehab anyone?
Perhaps a little drastic, but nevertheless Arenas will need to surround himself with people that will be able to get him on the track that will lead him back to an NBA team.
We must not forget the NBA team that will pick him up once the smoke has cleared. He will have to pitch, not only to the coaching staff but to the team, that he has changed his ways and is now a refocused man, better teammate, and leader.
Let’s just hope that for his sake he will get his act together because he has a lot to offer his fans and the world of professional basketball.
LeBron or Kobe he is not, but he is a talent, and it would be a shame to see all of that talent and opportunity go to waste over something this juvenile.