and we all owe him an apology.
Gilbert, or as nobody really calls him, "Agent Zero" (This picture will probably tell you why) was a 2nd round pick in the 2001 draft. Not much was expected from the combo guard and it was considered a bit of a surprise when he turned out to be a much better player than his draft position foretold. Like most people raised in the San Fernando Valley who attain success, Arenas is a bit of a loud mouth and self promoter. In the sports world, as in many, this is the kind of thing that makes you friends and enemies simultaneously. Arenas made this even more of the case when long stretches is inspired play were interrupted by long stretches of injury. In the summer before the '08-'09 season, he signed a six-year, $111 million dollar contract with the Washington Wizards. The next year, one in which he was paid more money than you or I will ever see, he played a grand total of two games. Two. I am pretty sure that no human being in history has ever made that much money for that little work. I might be wrong, however. I know very little about making money, which is one of the main reasons I am writing this blog. Anyway, the point is that anyone that talented who talks that much trash and makes that much money to play that little all while in the public eye is going to be a lightning rod for something at some point...
So, lets talk about weapons charges, shall we?
In January of last year, there was an incident in the Wizards locker room. Arenas and his backup guard, Javaris Crettenton, had what reporters and county clerks like to refer to as "An exchange of words" and the rest of us like to refer to as "Two overpaid thugs waving their egos at each other". It started with a discussion about one owing gambling debts to the other (While we're talking about good life decisions) and ended with them brandishing weapons at one another. Now, in the parlance of our modern culture, you know exactly what kind of weapons I am talking about. As entertaining as the concept of two NBA players engaging in mortal combat with a pair of tridents and short swords are, of course I am talking about guns. For some strange reason, both the league and the city of Washington took issue with the fact that these millionaires were keeping guns in their lockers and both players were suspended for the rest of the year. It was a step forward for the NBA coming to grips with the fact that many of their players were out of control. It was a step back, however, for the Wizards backcourt.
Remember this whole gun thing, it's going to come back later.
During this incident, Gilbert Arenas name, face, and loud, garish suits were everywhere that sports news could possibly be. Sports media, always the upstanding bastion of well-thought out ideas and intelligent, reasoned conversation, could talk about little else. The phrase is "Pride goeth before the fall". For Gilbert Arenas, the pride had long goeth, now was time for the fall. After he apologized, apologized and apologized again, eventually he returned to the Wizards, who were still contractually obligated to pay him several more years of his outlandish money. The irony being that by the time he was back, his team had absolutely no need for him. Due mostly to his antics, the Wizards had a fire sale near the end of the last season, trading away their good, veteran players and stockpiling draft picks. This resulted in a season that ended so badly that they won the draft lottery, got the first pick and used said pick to take John Wall, an excellent young player who did exactly what Arenas did on the court, but at 1/5th the price and a dramatically lowered chance of injury or felony. After a short period, Gilbert Arenas and his terrible contract, arguably the worst in the NBA, were traded for Rashard Lewis and HIS terrible contract, arguably the 2nd worst in the NBA. In laymens terms, the Wizards were married to Rosie O'Donnell and decided to wife-swap with the Orlando Magic, who were married to Kathy Bates. Arenas is still in Orlando, a bit older, a bit slower, but a bit wiser and quieter. He seems authentically humbled by this entire experience and when his contract eventually (Forever for Magic fans) ends he will take his ungodly millions, awards and shoes manufactured by child laborers that bare his name and head off into the sunset.
Now, you might be wondering what happened to the OTHER guy involved in that John Woo-esque mexican standoff in the locker room. Now this part is interesting.
A free agent at seasons end, Javaris Crettenton was a not re-signed by the Wizards. With no team willing to take a chance on a guy with that kind of incident on his record, well, no team willing to take a chance on a guy who was not a STAR with that kind of incident on his record, Crittenton played in China for a bit and then in the D-League after that. Coming back to his hometown of Atlanta and clearly bored of not making a remarkable embarrassment of himself, Crittenton (Whose name I ALWAYS think I am spelling wrong) decided to correct that on August 26th. There is too much wrong with what I am about to describe to pick bits and pieces out during it, so I am just going to write it all down and we'll discuss afterward. Got it? Ok, here goes:
Apparently, Javaris Crittenton was approached by someone back in April who robbed him of $55,000 worth of jewelry that he was wearing. Thinking he saw this person, he began shooting at them. Missing, instead he shot and killed a 22 year-old mother of four.
Let all that sink in....
Now, we all make mistakes. just the other day I accidentally poured dog food in my dogs water dish, so I know all about how Javaris feels. However, this incident is the greatest example I have ever heard of someone not learning their lesson. Crittenton was no all-star, that was clear. but he was a serviceable enough player that I'm sure he would have found another team willing to take a chance on him at seasons end had he not seen it fit to carry a gun into an NBA locker room. By the way, in case you were wondering, those locker rooms are some of the most well-guarded places in the world that are not banks, federal reserves, of the place where Jerry Lewis keeps the only print of "The Day the Clown Cried". My point being, leave the gun at home, or at least in the glove compartment. Gotta protect those Escalade rims after all, huh classy? Another thing, that number was not a typo regarding the jewelry. Fifty-five thousand dollars. A MAN, wearing fifty-five thousand dollars of jewelry. You just know that it was classy stuff, too. It probably had his name written on it. How's the robber going to sell something like that?
Robber: "Oy, I hope I can find someone else with this meshuganah name".
By the way, lest anyone accuse me of racism, that last quote is a paraphrase. No man should own that much jewelry, least of all one who is in a career where the average player is done in five years and you already make just over league minimum. This whole wearing ladies earrings and necklaces-thing started with R. Kelly and it should stay with him. So should peeing on underage girls, but that's neither here of there. Well, it's certainly not here. For the convenience of any other NBA players reading this, I shall give you a list of acceptable places to wear that much jewelry:
1.) The Oscars
2.) Buckingham Palace
3.) A very nice Opera
Are you any of those places? No? Then leave 90% of that gaudy crap at home.
Of course, I'm assuming that Crittenton had several pieces stolen. I suppose it's possible that he might have just been wearing a Faberge Egg around his neck. If that's the case, I take back everything I said. That's classy.
One more thing about this guy. Anyone who ever saw him play knows that he can't shoot and all, but how bad a shot do you have to be to kill some woman in front of her place. Granted, shooting a 22 year-old mother of four in the projects in Atlanta is like shooting a lesbian at a K.D. Lang show, but show some control, will you? Side note: I can't help but wonder how many more children that woman would have had had she lived to a ripe old project-living age, like 43 or something. Could have been dozens. I guess we'll never know.
In summation, clearly, we all owe Gilbert Arenas an apology. He knew exactly what kind of guy he was dealing with and we did not. Pulling a gun on someone like that is just fighting fire with fire. Unless by some odd coincidence any of you know Javaris Crittenton, the only proof we have of the person he is are his actions and his actions are a violent, willful, almost tragic series of doing the wrong thing. He's going to jail for a long time and he deserves twice as much time as he's gonna get for one reason above all others...
.... because he was drafted by the Lakers?
NO, that's not the reason, but it is a good guess.
It's because he'll clearly never learn his lesson. If he was a baseball player, I'm sure he could find a way to strike out on one pitch.
While we're talking about other sports, I'd also just like to say that Michael Vick is a walking piece of shit, but that's a post for another day.