You Might Have Heard Some Positive Gilbert Arenas News, Now Calm Down | Wizards Blog Truth About

You Might Have Heard Some Positive Gilbert Arenas News, Now Calm Down

Updated: August 26, 2010

Remember last year? I do. I blogged about it and all. In fact, I’ve been blogging about this Wizards team solid since October 2007. And what have I learned most? Curb your enthusiasm. Now, I’m not here to sell you a glass half-empty today that I purchased half-full yesterday. I do, as just about anyone involved with the Wizards, from within the organization to outside, from media to fans, have hope for a better future (thanks to, namely, John Wall and Ted Leonsis).

It’s just that being entrenched in D.C. sports and getting hype for what may lie ahead no longer go hand-and-hand, at least for me. I’m not sure if this feeling has existed within me the whole time, it’s just now I’m older, wiser. Or if the whole Gilbert Arenas gun ordeal last year (as the topping on other D.C. sports futility), which at one point had me contemplating ending this whole blog … briefly, has created a faintly apathetic feeling toward hope (or a hatred of false hope).

My point: Donovan McNabb comes to town and I shrugged my shoulders (and thanks to Mr. Irrelevant, I’ve also been cautioning people that we’ll likely see Rex Grossman start for a couple games). The Wizards land the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft (okay, that was bat-sh*t surprising), and take Mr. John Wall … more shoulder shrugging (sort of).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than thankful that I’ll get to cover Wall, but right now, he’s just a fresh-faced kid who happens to wear the jersey of the NBA team I’m close to.

Not to be a Debbie Downer … I’m often a ‘It could always be worse’ type of guy. I’d rather have McNabb than Jason Campbell, and I’d trade Ricky Rubio and a futile rental of Mike Miller and Randy Foye for John Wall in a second. It’s just that … I am D.C. sports. Expecting a bad-case scenario (not necessarily the worst) has become the rule, not the exception.

So now Mr. Ted Leonsis relays in his blog that he just happened to catch Gilbert Arenas playing in a pickup game at the Verizon Center on Tuesday evening. Leonsis wrote in his blog, Ted’s Take:

Gilbert Arenas played last night. It was a very good evening of basketball. Gil – our All-Star – matched up against another NBA All-Star. It was quite a show and quite a display of talent. I won’t comment yet on Gilbert or who was in the gym last night but suffice to say Gilbert looked trim, fit and explosive. His shot was sweet and he did one left handed dunk that was something to see. It had everyone talking. I was impressed and am happy.

If you just felt a butterfly in your stomach, the good, exciting kind, you must be a Wizards fan. You also must calm down.

Let’s get a couple things out the way real quick. It seems that Chris Paul was the unknown All-Star, thanks to a Tweet from CP3 (via Dan Steinberg). Seems that local baller Sam Young was in attendance too, along with James Posey, Morris Peterson and Hilton Armstrong. There were possibly more quenches for a basketball hungry appetite on the Verizon Center court Tuesday evening than the entire 2010 FIBA World Tournament will provide … possibly … at least for Wizards fans.

Now, my friends, it’s time to finish my little dance on that fire in your belly. Read this quote:

“There’s no question, a player of [Arenas’] talent, when he’s playing, he puts us from a team that’s competing for the playoffs to a team that’s an elite team in the playoffs. When you walk in the gym right now, you wouldn’t think that he’s hurt. If he’s at that ability when our season starts, we’re going to be an elite team in this league.”

Flip Saunders said that just over a year ago after visiting Chicago where Arenas was training with Tim Grover. Ignoring ‘Gil’s Gun Gate’ and I’ll tell you that the Wizards went 11-21 in 32 games before Arenas was suspended. Yes, a lot of other things happened, but I think you get my point. And that’s not all. Andre Igoudala, who trained with Arenas, among others, at the famed, Grover-run gym in Chi-Town, Tweeted on August 12, 2009:

@AI9: Runs at attack were pretty good today, gilbert arenas is back like he left his black card!

Yea, left the Black Card at the gun store.

What, did I not warn you there would be zingers?

The WaPost‘s Michael Lee also brings up the fact that Arenas looked good at Barry Farms last year.

Now Leonsis did warn us that he would not yet comment on Arenas (or who was in the gym with him), but said in the same sentence that Arenas, “looked trim, fit and explosive.” Oh, and that his shot was “sweet.”

Of course, these observations Leonsis did not want to comment on spread across the Internet like wild-fire …  SB Nation DC, SLAM, Hoops World, Washington Examiner, Pro Basketball Talk, The Washington Post, Bullets Forever, True Hoop, etc.

What does it all mean? That Arenas still holds a great deal of relevancy (and this comes as no surprise).

But it’s almost magnified even more, as Arenas has achieved what I like to call “unicorn” status with nary a public appearance in ages. Which makes me wonder (and I’m certainly not the first), wouldn’t it be better for Arenas to come out an apologize to Wizards fans (and the public) now rather than later?

Arenas addressing the past in this instance is a must. Gun-Gate won’t completely go away until the worthy/legit questions are answered. And it seems better to do this now than, say, on Media Day when one would hope the focus is more on basketball. Then again, I’m not a public relations guru.

Until Arenas makes himself available, the people will just have to feed off these second-hand morsels, these unicorn sightings … for better or worse.

Leosis has already shown he has the Midas Touch*, now add spotter of mythical creatures to his talents.

And I suppose I’m here to say, ‘Stop eating those morsels of unicorn, you’re going to ruin your dinner!’ Hearing that Arenas is doing well is certainly preferred over nothing, and definitely preferred over hearing Twitter rumors that he hurt his knee again at Grover’s in Chicago. But otherwise, no need to put any stock in it unless you see with your own eyes.

Besides, a great man once said, “Don’t think it can’t get any worse because it can.” That great man is none other than Flip Saunders.

Now flip that advice and don’t think it will get any better until it does.

*(Okay, the positive changes around the Wizards franchise have come as a result of Leonsis being an owner in-tune with the community and a hard worker, but you can’t tell me some sort of luck/magic/Midas Touch was involved in the Wiz getting the No. 1 pick. And actually, ‘Midas Touch’ might not be the best comparison … golden beer-holding shelves over golden urinals at a golden Verizon Center would be awesome — hot dogs and beer made of gold, not so much.)

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • @nycebryce

    Was at the workout. Saw some of it. David Hawkins from Temple was also in the gym as was Trevor Booker. Didn’t see the whole thing just the workout. Definitely was some major comp in there though. Had to give a tour so unfortunately couldn’t stay. There were a few others there that I wont mention but everybody in there was a pro.

  • Adam McGinnis

    It is August 26th, 2010. I have been waiting for a heartfelt apology from Agent Zero to his fans since well, the awful news broke on New Year’s Day. Gil’s letter in the WaPo does not count. I think he will come around and hopefully, (hint, hint Mr. Leonsis) it is coming up soon.

  • iWitness

    Great column!

    All the apologies in the world can’t erase Arenas’ history over the last few years. And those fans who ignore the lesson of history are doomed to repeat it…

    Do I want to see the Wizards in the playoffs? Sure! Do I think Wall will have the immediate impact of a Magic Johnson or that Arenas will get them there? Not so much. And with that cancerous contract of his, it may never happen until he’s gone.

  • I hear ya iWitness …

    1) Wall WILL have an impact … but playoffs? Probably not so much. Magic had the advantage of 6’8″ height and being a rookie on a team with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Michael Cooper … so it’s tough to make that comparison.

    2) I have hope that Arenas has learned a lesson — FINALLY — but as I allude to, my ‘hope’ isn’t worth much. But in the least, all Wizards fans should hope he plays well, if not to increase his trade value in the least.

  • szr

    I’m still having a huge amount of trouble understanding Wall-mania. The guy was a mediocre college player. He shoots a lot, at a low percentage and turns the ball over a lot. He reminds me of Starbury, which makes me very nervous (Starbury was given max money after all). He had one productive game in the summer league – playing alongside essentially the WIzards’ starting line-up against teams of D-Leaguers and end-of-benchers trying to make the team. That leaves me less, not more, confident.

    Arenas may not have the fan support, but he is a proven player. He may not be as good as we all hoped he would be, but he is a solid pro point guard – and that isn’t something to be dismissed.

    Maybe I too have become a jaded Wizards fan, but until I see evidence to the contrary, I’m going to assume Grunfeld has made his usual boneheaded trades for young players with “upside” and “potential” that never actually develop into reasonable talents.

    At what point are we allowed to call for Gunfeld’s firing? How many more losing seasons is it going to take?

  • Tom Cruise

    Great pic up there. Sums up Gilbert in a nutshell.