Now it may not be totally accurate to say this qualifies when the subject is a multi-millionaire. However, he is still a man, made a mistake, suffered through public humiliation, and now looks as if he’d rather crawl in a cave, live the rest of his days in solitude, and play with a lil' volleyball named Wilson. The person I’m speaking of today is Gilbert Arenas.
You can scour the ends of the earth, and you may not find a bigger Hibachi fan than me. I love the man’s game, and have gone to bat for him on many a debate, argument, and confrontation with my fellow brothers and sisters in basketball. Despite the fact that his last three seasons have ended prematurely, my enthusiasm for Arenas’ game has never wavered. It’s like an ugly truth is staring you right in the face, and instead of facing reality, you’d rather continue to wallow in denial. There’s always that hope that if he stays healthy, if he stays out of trouble, then he’ll be back to the Gilbert Arenas that people came to know and love.
These days, it seems like the Arenas bandwagon has about nine people left on it, which wouldn’t be that big a deal, if he wasn’t one of the most colorful personalities in recent NBA history. The man used to blog on NBA.com, with people eagerly awaiting his next post. Gilbert had us captivated on the court with his buzzer-beaters, his sheer joy on the court, as well as plenty of moments that left us flabbergasted, amazed, and in utter wonderment. One night, he gave a certain team in Los Angeles 60 points, and made a particular superstar the biggest hypocrite in the history of basketball, by his criticism of Arenas’ shot selection. Gilbert Arenas did all of these things, and did it all wearing number “0.”
That’s why it’s hard seeing the man today. The man who was once Agent Zero and had our collective souls in his hands is now a man who hasn’t shaved in weeks, hasn’t gotten an edge-up even longer, and barely smiles, or acknowledges anything off the court. The man has vowed to groom John Wall into the role of the face of the franchise, while he takes a backseat to allow the youngster to get his shine on.
While that’s all fine and well, there’s a part of me that wishes the old Arenas would return; the one who threw his jersey in the stands after games, the one who turned his back as soon as he launched a 25-footer at the rim, well before the ball went in, and one who seemed to be the happiest man on the court; the guy who's three-point game is so nice, that he beat DeShawn Stevenson, a good three-point shooter in his own right, with one hand.
Shoot, it’s like seeing Shawn Michaels on RAW back in the day, when he told Vince McMahon he lost his smile, and that it was time for him to go away for a while. Maybe that’s what this is, and while Gilbert’s out there, he’s really not there. Yes, I know the Desperado thing was totally his fault, and that’s caused the man to take the approach he’s adopted. Still though, I hope this is temporary, and more than anything, I want Gilbert Arenas to find his smile again.
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