Media Day had your easy preconceived story lines with the NBA’s top draft pick, John Wall, the return of Gilbert Arenas from suspension, the new veteran acquisitions and the youth movement of draft picks. Then a bearded, visibly disinterested Arenas entered the Wizards practice court and proceeded to act like getting his picture taken was like being subjected to a Twilight movie marathon. After his photo session concluded, Arenas politely declined to answer standard profile questions from a team official and huddled with Wizards public relations staff before mumbling stoic answers in a pretty pointless three minute media interview session.
Suddenly, a new media day theme had emerged: “Why is Gil so serious?”
The Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg coined Arenas’s media day persona as “Emo Gilbert,” and I piggybacked that with “Sullen Emo Gil” on my video recap.
Here is the definition of “Emo Girl” via Urban Dictionary:
“an emo girl is a 15-17 yr old or older who loves being dark and girly at the same time but is mostly drawn towards the tomboy side, she loves any music that expresses her and she is arrogant on the outside but on the inside she is weak and crambling and tries to hide her insecurity about herself and her looks by black eye makeup and her attitude”
Emo via Wikipedia:
“Emo is a style of rock music typically characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s hardcore punk movement of Washington, D.C., where it was known as “emotional hardcore” or “emocore” and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace.”
The nickname still stuck, and in Andy Greenwald’s book, “Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers and Emo,” Jenny Toomey explains why:
“The only people who used it at first were the ones that were jealous over how big and fanatical a scene it was. [Rites of Spring] existed well before the term did and they hated it. But there was this weird moment, like when people started calling music ‘grunge,’ where you were using the term even though you hated it.”
The name was eventually shortened and ’90s and 2000s popular music success solidified today’s pop culture definition of “emo.” Some of these behavioral characteristics include a person who is a malcontent, an introvert and angst ridden. Also, emos often can display apathy, misery and discontent.
Due to the D.C. roots, Arenas’ misunderstood look, and his new No. 9 jersey, I’ve decided to gloss a fresh nickname upon him: Emo Gil Niner.
[Side Note: The emocore D.C. bands of the 80's were mostly on the music label, Dischord Records; FanHouse recently compared D.C. area pro ballers to the label's songs. ]
Since Gil was so uncooperative during media day, it was the time for the media to pepper Flip Saunders and the remaining players for answers on their new-look teammate. I created the following video of the display … prepare yourself for “Serious”, “Business Like,” and “Demeanor.”
I did thoroughly enjoy Josh Howard and Saunders referencing Gil’s famous screw up as “The Situation.” Thank You Jersey Shore for ruining that phrase for like…ever now. The View did once ask the Baller-in-Chief, President Obama, if he knew who Snooki was, so maybe I should find out how many Wizards know “GTL.” (It is all you, Mr. Sports Bog.)
I was too busy asking Kirk Hinrich about his tattoos and J-Ho about his car collection to really care about the mental state of Gilbert Arenas. Several reporters seemed determined to get inside of Gil’s head. Um, OK … good luck with that (a la Chris Webber).
My beef with Gil still remains, as his apology to his fans has been extremely insufficient.
Gil wants to be a prick to the media and not really answer questions, fine. He pulled a similar stunt last season, and I am sure fans didn’t care. From a PR standpoint, however, he should own up to his mistakes publicly and let his play change the conversation to the comeback narrative the media loves. For example, check out how Mike Vick addressed his past in this powerful interview with his former coach. Now read this emotionless editorial that Gilbert obviously hired someone to write, because we all know the voice from his blog that was transcribed by someone else, and that sure isn’t it.
I do agree with the consensus view that if Gil balls at an All-Star Level again, his professional credibility will be restored and fans will likely grant him a second chance. However, while fans will come back to a winner, they will just as easily pile on a loser. It would help Arenas’ cause if he started the legwork on changing his off-the-court perception now without it solely being determined by on-court success.
There is no doubt Arenas avoided more severe legal punishment because of the goodwill he had built up in the community and amongst fans. Now Arenas hides behind towels, refuses to throw out t-shirts to fans with his teammates, did not allow fans to properly cheer his introduction at Midnight Madness, and bizarrely claims that fans will only want to see him play good basketball. He can’t even share a laugh with Brendan Haywood.
Time is on Gil’s side to come correct and display true contrition to those who have loved him for so long. Draining threes is adequate forgiveness for some, but a little more recognition toward the fans that had his back while the whole sports world cast him aside is not too much to ask.
Gil’s genuine enjoyment from Lester Hudson’s game winner on Tuesday night was good to see … but of course, Emo Gil Niner followed it up with quotes in the spirit of “Woe Is Me.”
[Massages are all the rage amongst the emo kids.]