You don’t realize it until you realize it. Here we were, the end of summer creeping to a close. Football, baseball, football, baseball….NBA basketball? Meh.
Wizards basketball? Sure Nick Young’s progression, speculation on who to sign (such as this guy, this guy, or this guy), fashion modeling gigs, etc., are nice for fodder. Even resigning Jamison and Arenas brought a ho-hum, casual “keeping the status quo” attitude, mostly from the national Canadian media.
Something had to be done. Drastic news had to be made. What could get Washington (at least the sports scene) buzzing about a basketball player in the middle of the Redskins’ hold on the top 10 WaPost stories (ok, so Gil loses there), and a historical Presidential race? What could get a traffic surge to Agent Zero: The Blog File that would rival the DC area’s mixing bowl at rush hour with an overturned tractor-trailer of live chickens to boot? What could get the real estate around District Columbia water coolers worn from the topic of basketball, of all things, in early September?
Gilbert Arenas can.
Now, It would be absurd of me to think that Arenas scheduled a knee surgery around optimal headline grabbing time. No, I’m completely sure that the timing we’ve been sold by et al. was the expected and right thing to do all along. Then again, how am I not to feel that the tight-lipped nature from Ernie Grunfeld and Co. over this matter is not akin to a George Bushian “massaging” of the information? Think the press conference announcing Gil’s new contract as the equivalent to landing on an aircraft carrier and proclaiming the war to be over.
What other conclusion am I supposed to come to? How did we go from “Rehab’s good, cool as a fan….Big Three, 82 games, healthy like a health nut,” [sure I'm paraphrasing] to shocking everyone by announcing after-the-fact surgery and a hiatus for the duration of 2008 with Brian Fellows-esque enthusiasm, to acting surprised from the resulting reaction?
Arenas: “Yea, the knee was like this the whole time…What? Ya’ll didn’t know? You’re messing with me, right? You mean, you didn’t receive a copy of the latest script? Damn, dog….I thought you were in on the process….my bad. — ‘Hey Ernie Gruns! They’re saying that they didn’t receive the updated script….you know, the plan about me being out until January and everyone going into the vault and opening up the folder that says “Contingency Plan A”? Yea, that one….naw, they didn’t know about it.’” [Didn't seem like Contingency Plan A, Antonio Daniels, was aware.]
Ok, so that is not an actual Gilbert Arenas quote from his latest blog entry, The Story Behind Surgery #3, which is ironically, one of his most sensible posts. And I feel for the guy, I really do. I can’t fathom what it’s like for Gil to experience setback after setback….we’re all aware of the total injury timeline and the misplaced optimism that has come with it.
But to drop such a bombshell and then wonder why everyone’s “tripping” is even more baffling. The Pradamaster spelled it out pretty well at Bullets Forever. So which is it more…is Arenas so out of touch that he’s unable to comprehend the natural reaction of fans, or is he so into himself and his addiction to attention that it doesn’t really matter? In the end, maybe Wizards fans weren’t promised anything….this is, after all, Agent Wacky Pants we’re talking about….but we made summertime assumptions that no news was good news. I guess disappointment is what we get for assuming in the first place.