As far as real characters go in the NBA, he was one of the few. One of those rare players who seemed to understand there was more to life than sports and money. One who had interesting, hilarious, even morbid thoughts. Even stranger, he loved to share them.
I miss Gilbert Arenas.
I miss his awesome nicknames and yelling Hibachi! after every shot. I miss his blog, where he once even talked about driving home and passing by a bridge, and his thought that, for no real reason at all, he could just drive off and end it all. Another great one: “Everyone is having sex until they fall in love. When you fall in love, then it’s making love.”
Gilbert found commonality in the human experience—thoughts we all have, but few of us, especially professional athletes, are gutsy enough to share.
I miss the rivalry Gilbert’s Wizards had with the Cleveland Cavaliers a few years back. The two played a spectacular playoff series. One game in particular, I believe it was a double overtime affair, featured Gilbert and LeBron James going at each-other like the possessed. They traded basket after basket after buzzer beating basket.
I miss Gilbert because, in a post-practice three-point shooting contest with DeShawn Stevenson he won shooting with just one hand:
I miss Gilbert because he provided a reason to be excited when the Wizards came to town.
First came the endless string of knee injuries, then the idiocy with the gun (Gilbert recently talked to GQ and sketched out the incident out in detail, sharing also what he learned).
Now I suppose, the question is, do the 21-45 Wizards miss Gilbert?
Surely they don’t miss his insanely bloated contract. On the other hand, they must miss his 22 points and seven assists (stats from this year). The bigger question is will Gilbert ever play in a Wizards uniform again? It’s hard to think anything else, as said contract such an albatross (and it doesn’t look like it will be voided). Hopefully Gilbert will find his way in the NBA again—he should be forgiven. Perhaps all this extra time off will give that stubborn knee time to finally heal properly. And when that day comes, Gilbert, please bet back to blogging.
At practice Thursday a reporter asked Nate McMillan is he was worried about overlooking the Wizards, that they could be setting up for a letdown. McMillan was appalled. There’s no way we’re going down to the Wizards, we don’t think like that, he said in so many words.
And that’s where it is. For the eighth time in nine games the Blazers take on a sub .500 opponent. The Wizards are perhaps the worst in that entire stretch, save for maybe the Timberwolves. Washington have lost nine straight.
(A side note—Andray Blatche is a beast. I was surprised during the Blazers pre-trade-deadline hustle that his name didn’t come up along with Brendon Haywood’s. No matter though, Camby was a hell of a pickup.)
(Aside #2—doesn’t all this supposed drama about the frailty of Kevin Pritchard’s standing in the organization ring hollow? Team president Larry Miller said today it is “absolutely dreamed up.” My guess—and it is just that, as nobody in the know has said a peep—is that the issue with Tom Penn’s firing was purely personal. Somebody didn’t like him, or he did something objectionably wrong. Maybe, as it’s been reported, the Blazers were simply pissed about his leveraging the T-Wolves interest into a disproportionally fat paycheck. Or maybe it was something closer, like offending Paul Allen personally. But for now we don’t know, and we may never. What we do know—Kevin Pritchard aint going anywhere.)
OK, so back to Friday’s game. It should be an easy one. Ring it up.
Vegas Line: Blazers are a whopping -12 1/2