Monday, January 4, 2010

Not Your Father's Old Black Magic

If Gilbert Arenas is not the biggest horse's ass presently earning a paycheck as professional athlete within the geographic limits of these United States, then he can take solace in the fact that in this Olympic year (of the winter variety anyway) he is at least ensured a place on the medal stand. To a certain extent he is to be admired. He has a skill that not very many people on the planet possess, which is why he is currently plying his trade under the terms of a contract that shall pay him $111 Million over six years.

Yet he is a singularly obtuse individual. If ignorance truly is bliss, then every photo of him should reveal a mouth agape, ear-to-ear grin. It was earlier this season that Arenas acknowledged - in spite of NBA rules against its players bringing guns to the arenas in which they play that he had three weapons in his locker - having moved them there from his home. He removed the trio of weapons from his house after the birth of his third child, which means that Arenas apparently has a rule against equal numbers of his firearms and his offspring being under the same roof. Bully for him, eh?

Apparently not all of Gilbert's teammates read (the site that broke the story re: the relocation of tres bangbangos to their community space). If a young Wizard named Jarvis Crittenton had, then he likely would either have given more consideration to how badly he needed the $25K that Arenas allegedly owed him to pay off a poker bet. As reported by David Aldridge of TNT Sports:

While the details are not yet clear, the substance of what was reported Friday by Yahoo! Sports and the New York Post -- that Arenas had a confrontation in the Wizards' locker room late last month with teammate Javaris Crittenton in which both players had guns in their hands -- was confirmed Friday by a league source. The incident, the source said, apparently involved a debt of $25,000 that Arenas owed Crittenton. It is not clear why Arenas supposedly owed Crittenton the money, but the dispute apparently began on a team flight as the Wizards came home the night of Dec. 19, after Washington completed a road trip in Phoenix.

The team had the next day, Sunday the 20th, off, but was back at Verizon Center on Monday, Dec. 21, which is when the incident allegedly occurred. The source indicated that it happened before the team was in the locker room for the scheduled practice, but that there may have been one or more players in the room at the time.

Arenas apparently enjoys playing high-stakes poker - is happy to play with opponents and teammates alike and is not a stranger to playing online poker in the Wizards' locker room at halftime of home games. Nothing like a gambler with easy access to firearms. It must be of great comfort to all who know and share space with Gilbert that he keeps his chips and his ammo in a convenient, easily accessible location.

Regardless of whether he pays Crittenton or not, Arenas faces consequences for his alleged violation of NBA rules and Federal and District of Columbia statutes. He may even face unemployment. Various sources have reported that the Wizards might seek to terminate his contract. And his prodigious skills notwithstanding, if Arenas loses his gig with the Wizards he might not find another NBA team eager to jump into the center ring that is the circus he calls his life. If that occurs, he will likely find that it is hard to keep his seat at the $25,000 a hand Texas Hold 'Em.

Whether it is irony or coincidence is for one better gifted in language than I am to decide. However it is worth pointing out that Arenas plays for the Washington Wizards. Up until 1997 or so, the Wizards were known as the Bullets. The team's owner Abe Polian changed the nickname because he thought - given DC's reputation as one of this country's hot spots for gun-related crimes - the nickname sent the wrong message.

Abe Polian died in November. One is left to wonder what message he would have thought his star player has sent thus far this season. And whether the Wiz should book Lynyrd Skynyrd to play their end-of-season Fan Appreciation bash.


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