[UPDATE: Gilbert will wear No. 9]
Arenas could wear lucky No. 13 next season, who knows, but he certainly won’t be wearing No. 6.
Today a league source indicated that Gilbert Arenas decided to change his jersey number, again, evidently, and filed the necessary paperwork with the NBA prior to the March deadline.
According to initial reports, confirmed by league spokesman Tim Frank to the AP in mid-March, Arenas submitted paperwork to change from jersey No. 0 to No. 6 for the 2010-11 season.
However, this afternoon a Wizards team spokesperson indicated that original reports of Arenas switching to No. 6 were premature and also confirms that the embattled guard will not be wearing No. 6 next season (or zero or double-zero for that matter).
Neither the team nor the league were at liberty to say what Arenas’ new jersey number will be. It’s all up to the elusive, unicorn-esque Arenas, and team management, to divulge that information when they deem it proper. That is, unless some crack reporter with Arenas’ cell number, the new one he supposedly changed to prior to his court sentencing, can pry the information out of Agent ‘Whatever-his-jersey-number-will-be’ … or out of one of the other seemingly copious sources with “knowledge close to the situation.”
Hence, this morning’s reactionary (to Dan Steinberg) blog post from Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (discussed in this previous TAI post) saying, “It is possible, and perhaps likely, that Gilbert Arenas will decide to change his number on his Wizards uniform this coming season.”
Sources indicate that the new number could have something to do with Arenas’ mother, who passed away on March 13. Mike James wore No. 13 before he and the Wizards reached a buyout agreement in early March.
Basically, if you’ve purchased an Arenas No. 6 Wizards jersey (which recently became available for customization on NBA.com) … sorry, it’s now a “never was” collector’s item. On the other hand, any such number change “Consumer Warning” blog post from Ted Leonsis doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is on the wall for Arenas to be traded since No. 6 was not set in stone by number change deadline rules, which evidently aren’t as staunch as say, bench dress code rules.
Leonsis followed up with another blog post this afternoon saying, “As to Gilbert’s number, yes, he would like a different number than new number 6 — more as it develops. And as a great man once said, ‘there are times when a cigar is only a cigar.’ Don’t read so much into every little pixel and statement generated, ok.”
Of course, Arenas could also get moved to the Knicks for Eddy Curry so LeBron could be lured to New York … or so speculates former team ‘Cold War‘ sparring partner, David Falk (via SportsRadioInterviews).
In other news … they’re just jersey numbers, people (and bloggers) … why are you making such a big deal out of it?
Yet, the ranks of top selling jerseys are always advertised by the league as some sort of benchmark for popularity. So, I guess the number on the back is kind of important.