Gil Arenas Gives Back to the Little Guy Who's Probably Still Bigger Than You

. ValenciaCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2008

Last week, Gilbert Arenas took $111M in contractual money when he could have gotten $127M in resigning with the Wizards in a six-year deal.  His stated purpose in doing so: resigning some of the Wizards' role players. 

Sure, $111M relative to $127M is not all that much less. It's roughly 87%. And in calculating that 87%, I rounded down from 87.4%. But that .4% is roughly $500,000 alone. So I've already discounted Arenas' contribution to the Wizards' "Resign Our Scrubs" Foundation by a nice, centrally-located D.C. condo. Not a small round-off error.

Arenas said of the donation, "What can't I do for my family with with $127M that I can't do with $111M?" Or something like that.  Good point, Gil. But you never know if you'll get the itch to buy an aircraft carrier some time within the next six years. For serious, though, in today's self-centered, me-before-team culture, what Gil left on the table shouldn't be played down. It's easy for non-athletes to say, "I'd be thrilled with $111M! Who needs the whole $127M anyway?"  We can't fathom having $1M, so anything more would be saturation.  But $16M is a lot of dough, by anyone's standards. 

And while he received some praise for the move, the age-old athletes-make-too-much-money-anyway attitude in the media seems to have taken some steam off of the good will Arenas put out there.  I tend to subscribe to that attitude when it fits.  But it doesn't fit here.  Like most, I don't think he's a max deal guy either.  But that's not the point.  He could have had that $127M free and clear if he wanted it, and no one would have called him names.  He'd just be another guy signing an absurdly lucrative contract, virtually guaranteeing that his kid will be able to eat at McDonald's whenever he wants.  You take what you know you can get, and that's the business.  And he could've gotten a lot more.

Others have seemed, in some nonsensical way, to say that because Arenas' is a certifiable wierdo (no argument there), we the people should chalk the sacrifice up to his eccentricity.  No one's said this directly, because no matter which way you slice it, it's a nice thing to do.  But they have insinuated that this is "just another one of Arenas' quirky little moments." 

Arenas opted to take less for the team's sake.  We'll never know if he'd have stuck to his resolution to wait for the Wizards to resign Jamison so that he himself could resign.  And we don't yet know how he'll play after an entire season of fashion shows on the bench.  But I do remember times last season when I thought to myself that the Wizards would be just as well off letting Arenas go.  Maybe record-wise, but not with respect to character. 

This was supposed to be a joke about what one could buy with the leftover $16M, but it turned into a piece about good will.  What's this salty discharge on my cheek?  Disgusting.