Caron Butler Details Gilbert Arenas Gun Incident in New Book

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (0) talks to Washington Wizards forward Caron Butler, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

In his new memoir, Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA, veteran Caron Butler recounted the now-infamous incident between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton in December 2009, when the two teammates with the Washington Wizards brought guns into the locker room.

In the excerpt describing that incident (h/t Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post), Butler recalled it began over a dispute on the team plane after Arenas pocketed $1,100 Crittenton felt he owed him after a card game. Antawn Jamison had to restrain the two, though they continued to argue until the plane landed, resulting in the following exchange:

“I’ll see your [expletive] at practice and you know what I do,” Gilbert said.

“What the [expletive] you mean, you know what I do?” replied Javaris.

“I play with guns.”

“Well I play with guns, too."

The two weren't kidding. According to Butler, Arenas showed up to practice two days later with four guns, which he was displaying for all to see. That led to the following:    

“Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”

“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”

He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.

At that point, the other players in the locker room, outside of Butler, quickly fled, while coach Flip Saunders remained locked in his office. Butler stayed, per his account, convincing Crittenton that he would ruin his career and likely his life if he pulled the trigger. Crittenton lowered the gun while Arenas quietly removed himself from the scene.

However, Arenas disputed Butler's version of the story in a since-deleted Instagram post (according to Chris Lingebach of CBS Washington):

I respect Caron Butler’s book and got my copy, but the guns-in-the-locker story is FALSE in his book. Butler and I were asleep. [JaVale McGee], Crittenton and [Earl Boykins] were playing cards by the time I woke up. Crittenton was balls-deep in losing, so I decided to join the game.
So Crittenton got booed, which means he didn’t get one book [while playing Spades], so he had to match the pot, which was $1,100. But $800 was his, so he just lost $800, and the pot now is at $1,400, and $1,100 of it is his.

JaVale won the first $1,100 pot, so he scooped the money. Boykins asked JaVale, “Can I get my $200 now, since you have money?” JaVale said, “After we land. I don’t want to jinx myself.” Crittenton spazzed, “Give that [guy] his money. You just won my money. Pay that [guy].”
So I jumped in, “Damn, dog, that’s between them two [guys].” He turned to me and said, “[Screw] you, [guy].” I said, “[Shoot], you owe me $200. I think you owe Caron $300, but we didn’t say [anything].”

From there, Arenas said things got more tense between himself and Crittenton, per Lingebach:

He pops off again, “Oh, [screw] you, [guy]. You would try to money-talk somebody.”
So now it’s my deal, so Earl said, “I’m out.” JaVale said, “I don’t need no cards.” Crittenton needs five new cards, so most likely he was about to match the pot once again, so I said, “I’m out,” knowing JaVale has a King, Queen. Since it’s Crittenton’s money in the pot, there’s no need to fight if he gets booed. So I showed my hand, and Crittenton got mad I had three trump cards and didn’t fight with him.

So he screams, “MISDEAL! Gil showed his hand.” JaVale said, “[Screw] that, I win. I have Ace, King, Queen.” So Crittenton tries to use ‘misdeal’ as a way of starting the hand over, so I said, “Y’all figure that out.”

So I walked to the back. They [continued] arguing, but Earl convinced them that JaVale had won. Crittenton yells out, “[That’s a] misdeal!” So I yelled back, “Come get the [stuff] with your hands if you want a misdeal!”

[...]

So when the plane lands, [Crittenton] walks back talking tough, saying, “If we were in the streets, I’ll pop you in your knees.” I said, “[Shoot], I’ll give you the guns to do it on Monday.” It was Saturday. We had Sunday off.

Arenas continued to say he left four unloaded guns on a chair in the locker room, with the note "pick one" attached to it, before the rest of the team entered the locker room on Monday. 

Someone then called 911, and the story rocked the NBA world. The two players were suspended for the duration of the 2009-10 season, and Washington traded away many of the players on the roster and rebuilt after the incident.

That was likely for the best, as the Wizards selected John Wall in the 2010 draft, and he has ushered in a new era of Washington basketball. That was also the end of Arenas' stardom, as he played just two more years in the league.

Crittenton, meanwhile, was sentenced to 23 years in prison in April after pleading guilty to manslaughter and admitting he had joined a Los Angeles gang after being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007.


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