Bringing The Latest Bout Of Gilbertology Back To Reality | Truth About It.net

Bringing The Latest Bout Of Gilbertology Back To Reality

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Updated: December 28, 2010

Gilbert Arenas’ recent Q&A with ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace was disappointing, to say the least. So let’s look back at some interesting tidbits from it, starting with the best part, which came at the end:

Arenas was asked: “Do you look back on anything that played out over the last 12 months with any regret?”

His answer: “Nope. No need to. Look around me. I’ve got a fresh start. I’ve got too much to look forward to.”

At one level, you think, ‘What an asshole.’ I’m sure Arenas wasn’t meaning to be an asshole, but it is an asshole-ish response.

But as a baseline, it’s a very selfish comment that comes as no surprise. Essentially, Arenas does not regret initially using his kids as a conduit for a lie to cover up his actions (because as court evidence would confirm, he brought guns into the locker room from home on the day of the incident … in a frontward facing backpack no less), then using guns as a “prank” in the building of the deceased owner of the Wizards, an owner who’d clearly made efforts against gun violence one of his priorities.

From words I heard Arenas casually speak while he was still a Wizard this season, I’m still under the impression that he continues to find himself less than culpable for his gun-related actions … making quips about the “real” story still not being out and what-have-you.

And now, none of that matters to him. It doesn’t matter than his airplane card game bullying effectively ended Javaris Crittenton’s NBA career. It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable he left the rest of his teammates. Arenas continues to make himself believe that all of that was blown out of proportion. Perhaps that’s another one of his ways of dealing with things — just like mocking the matter via Twitter. Now, he’s just lying to himself.

“But this act right here [the gun thing] is totally different than [other Arenas pranks] … I mean this is … you don’t play around with this type of situation. Something could have went wrong.”

Those were Antawn Jamison’s words not long after the gun incident. The Gentleman Jamison was clearly affected, a sentiment easily reflected by others with the organization who were made uncomfortable by the presence of guns. But concerns of teammates seemingly do not come into Arenas’ consideration.

Arenas was also asked by Wallace: “A year ago today, a year removed from the infamous moment in the locker room in Washington, do you remember what the atmosphere was like, what the mood was like?”

His response: “It was December 21st. The funny part about it is, the atmosphere was no different than it usually is. It wasn’t as big as everyone [made it] seem. It was like three minutes, and then everybody was back to normal. Everybody was joking about it. And then, nine days later, it becomes … (drifts to silence).”

Not sure what Arenas meant by “normal” … I suppose “normal” was a team that continued to drift amidst losing futility … a team mired with an 8-17 record prior to the gun incident … a team falling vastly short of expectations with two of its three main players (Arenas and Caron Butler) clearly not getting along. Yea, pretty normal I suppose.

And in the first game after the gun incident? Well, after his starters — Arenas, Randy Foye, Butler, Jamison and Brendan Haywood — came out with a horrendously poor effort in the first four minutes of the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers, Flip Saunders subbed all of them out at once, replacing them with Earl Boykins, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Andray Blatche and Fabricio Oberto. Upon checking out, the usually cool-headed Jamison swung and punched the baseline scrolling advertising machine with the side of his first. The move by Saunders later served as the catalyst for the starters returning to game and taking down a bad Sixers team.

But all was pretty normal, right?

When asked by Wallace: “How often do you still reflect on the darkest moments of that ordeal?”

Arenas countered with classic blame deflection: “I reflect back on it and, put it like this, I’ve seen worse in our locker room.”

When given a chance to reflect on his own deeds, Arenas points to the deeds of others, which he then chooses not to expand upon. Kinda sounds like my reasoning with teacher when I got in trouble in the third grade … “But look what Johnny did!” {points finger in Johnny’s direction}.

I’m neither surprised nor incensed at Arenas’ comments. I’m disappointed. Disappointed that he still doesn’t really get it. Disappointed that he uses childlike tactics to clear his conscious. Disappointed that Arenas is kicking the pendulum from ‘thanks for the memories’ to ‘good riddance’. But that’s what classic Gilbertology is all about, a separation and escape from reality. Good luck.



  • Rashad Mobley

    The part of this article I found interesting was Haywood telling Gilbert, “There goes your protection, he can’t protect you no more” after Abe died

  • gus

    Why do people who hate athletes always seem to want to make a living wrtiting about them?

  • John

    Gilbert’s comments were a little weird, but I’m also sympathetic.

    Why? Because it’s quite clear that the whole episode was blown monumentally out of proportion. Sure what he did was a bad mistake, but mountains were moved to make this a national ordeal and Arenas the league’s leading villain.

    Under those circumstances and a year later, it must be hard for Gilbert to take questions of “regret” seriously and to provide the kind of answers way too many people feel he owes us.

    “Regret” can mean a lot of things, with many different proportions. Unfortuntely the whole thing has been skewed beyond comprehension. By now it’s best just to drop it.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    Gus, unfortunately I’m not making a “living” out of this.

    Also, I’ve written plenty of things praising Arenas.

    This isn’t “hate” as your all-to-easy, contrived analysis suggests.

    This is calling bullshit out for what it is.

  • John

    It’s not bullshit though. At what point is a man able to move on and feel happy about where he’s at, rather than beat himself up for his past? Regret is a loaded word.

    The problem is people just want Arenas to pay lip service to a *relatively minor* mistake that happened a year ago. Why are we still over-analyzing this stuff? Let the guy move on.

  • Incandescent Rex

    He doesn’t hate Gilbert, just disappointed in him. As for me, this just makes me happier Gil’s gone. To paraphrase Kevin Costner’s speech to Tim Robbins in Bull Durham: acting like a space cadet is “charming” when you’re in the majors, but when you’re in the minors, you’re just a nut. In much the same way, Gil’s immaturity was funny as long as he was putting up superstar numbers. Post-injury Gil’s pedestrian numbers makes his penchant for Baghdad Bob level revisionist history insufferable.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    Yea, you’re right about the moving on part John … and I did think about that.

    Maybe this is just an annoyance that I felt the need to address as I continue to digest the legacy of Arenas … and as I continue to go back and forth on his impact and what he meant to the team/city.

    So, thanks for bearing with me through this, I guess …

    And I will eventually move on… most definitely.

  • John

    Cool.

    >…and as I continue to go back and forth on his impact and what he meant to the team/city.

    Good luck with that! It’s a fascinating question for sure, but I’ve decided it would only make my brain hurt.

    I really enjoyed your day at the head of TrueHoop last week btw.

  • http://www.truthaboutit.net/ Kyle Weidie

    Thanks John … much appreciated.

    And yes, I am working on a piece regarding Arenas’ legacy in DC … have interviewed a lot of fans at games about him … and it certainly won’t be as critically slanted as the post above.

  • Dennis

    I think it is a bit clearer why Stern basically issued a gag order for Arenas before the season.

    As much as I rooted for Gil the player and somewhat the person, it is good for both sides to get a fresh start. I just find it interesting that Gil isn’t will to accept any part of the blame for the Wiz current predicament, at least in this interview.

    It was his decision and suspension that lead to the dismantling of the team and their current state. And when you pay someone 119 million you expect them to act professionally. If you don’t want the responsibility then don’t sign the contract. Part of being the man is being a MAN.

    In the end I am glad he is gone. He act was growing old. Too much baggage for a Max contract player.

  • Jazzzy

    It’s not that we can’t get over it. It’s mostly that Washington DC got played. They shouldn’t even have dealt with Gilbert in the first place, and Im talking about going back to when they had playoff battles with Clev.

    The point is he is a grown man with a grown man job. You can’t take a gun to work without getting fired/punished at least. And theres no guns in DC aparently thats law, follow it Gil. And he can’t even admit that much. After we the fans waited 2 damn years for him to fulfill a $19 million a year role and do his damn job, this kid gets suspended (nothing to do with the knee now). It tore the team up and he could care less because it was a joke, ha, thats why he gets no respect that he soooo desperatly thinks he deserves but wont admit that either.

    Point of story Glbert needs to see a shrink a take some notes from Ron Artest, true but sad.

  • Robert

    With regard to Arenas’ legacy, it seems to me that only the bandwagon fans want to dismiss what Arenas did for this team and city. The die-hards who suffered through 20 years of misery with Michael Adams, Don Mclean, Cwebb, cwhit, ike austin, MJ, jerry stackhouse, juwan howard, mitchell butler, tom Gugs, Muresan, Strickland, etc., they are appreciative of Arenas. I am hugely disappointed in Arenas, sure. But I also remember that from 2005-2007, he was one of the best players in the league, a joy to watch, and most of all, made the Wizards relevant. I will remember both the Good (shot over hinrich’s bulls, 60 point v lakers, all the buzzer beaters) and the Bad (gun incident, injuries) when I think of Arenas.

    Sure, Arenas gave us 3-4 good years, then set us back 3-4 years. That’s still BETTER than what MJ did, better than what webber, howard, and strickland did, better than what Gugliotta did. Did the Wiz reach the pinnacle, No. I will always remember that Arenas made the Wizards relevant (at least until the Wiz make a conference finals or second round again, maybe then my memories will start fading)

  • iWitness

    There is no way to sugarcoat this: Arenas was never, even at the very brief height of his career, a substitute for a solid franchise. He was at best a band-aid, an entertainer who delighted fan-boys and fantasy-leaguers with his selfishly inflated stats. Talented? Sure. But another Kobe Bryant or Lebron? Not even close. He got the Wizards into the playoffs against a weak field a few times, then fizzled. For those of us who remember the real glory days of the Bullets, he was never a figure to inspire any confidence, because his on-court limitations, immaturity and lack of loyalty were obvious from the start. Now his kids are reaping that. Getting him out of the locker room and off the team were a top priority for any incoming GM. And it should have been a new one who did it, not the one who rewarded and abetted all of Arenas’ childish behavior all these years.

  • Lenmna

    E3veryone has moved on why can’t you. Its time to talk about basketball, building an organization and getting the proper team in plaxe. I’m disappointed that I plopped down $3,300 and gert to watch Kirk Hinrich dribble the ball around and Flip Wilson coach this team.

  • Newmanium Reveler

    It’s funny how quickly any discussion of Gilbert escalates into rigid factions for most. The best thing he taught me, as an athlete, was that the nuances and shades of grey – the benefit of the doubt I so readily extend to friends and people who are “fully formed humans” in my esteem, so to speak – should be extended to at least some athletes. Nothing about Gilbert can be reduced to platitudes or the usual narratives, and that’s why so many of us have been hooked on him for so long. And in my mind, while Washington basketball goes through a rebuilding period of 3-5 years, I really hope he can do something with this Magic team to remind us of the guy we all fell for. The easiest knock for Gil’s critics has always been the “where’s the ring” type shorthand argument. A deep run with this team won’t silence those critics, but it’ll be a reminder that being a complex human and a good athlete are not at all mutually exclusive.

  • http://nba-analytiks.com kshiz

    I don’t think this article reflects an inability to “move on”. It’s a good post.

    I also think it says more about our system, how we dole out punishment, seek redemption, and really what a sham the whole process is – in this case.

    There’s no genuine reflection or remorse here. No taking responsibility or ownership for his actions. It’s sick and I’m glad someone said it.

  • Reality

    It’s like the commenter above me said, please stop begging Arenas to lie to you all. He could very easily say “I regret it all, I’m sorry, I love DC” but what is there to regret? The only regret he should have is being dumb enough to get caught, no matter what you think no one’s life was endangered. It just happens that guns are taboo in DC, and if you want to get elected you better say you’re anti-gun. Small-minded thinking, PEOPLE kill PEOPLE. I’ll admit I wouldn’t want someone pranking me with a gun, loaded or unloaded, but if it was a one-time thing I wouldn’t want the pranker to go to jail or pay any fines, all I would want is for him not to do it again to me.

    kshiz, you should be thanking Arenas. The way you worded your comment makes it appear you actually believed celebrities when they say they’re sorry. Reality check, they have millions on the line, it means nothing to them to say some cute words to appease people like you. I’m sorry it took Gilbert Arenas to make you realize this, but it’s a start.

  • http://www.nba-analytiks.com kshiz

    Reality – you misunderstood me. I hate it when athletes, politicians or others apologize for the sake of PR. It’s vapid and meaningless.

    But I think it’s incredible that Gilbert still can’t take responsibility for his actions. In his eyes – he’s the victim. It pisses me off and I was glad Kyle wrote that post.

    I was just making the point that my reaction has more to do with my view on Gilbert as a person, more than it does an inability to “move on” as other commenters suggested.