April 29, 2007
Out of the all times for Gilbert Arenas to come out of his self-induced silence, for all the reasons to do so, his choices on Saturday did little to dispel a growing suspicion that Agent Zero is all about Agent Zero.
So, the Wizards are getting destroyed in their Eastern Conference first-round series, on the way to a humiliating sweep by Cleveland, and Arenas calls a press conference before Game 3 in Washington to congratulate himself on getting his picture on the cover of a video game?
That's a franchise player?
"Everyone knows that this is the takeover year and I took over a lot of stuff," Arenas said. "I surprised myself. I want to finish the season by saying Agent Zero is on the cover of NBA Live 2008."
Wonderful, Gilbert. This had to be thrilling news to his coaches and teammates getting embarrassed by LeBron James and the Cavaliers with Arenas and Caron Butler out for the season. I can only imagine how hard it was for coach Eddie Jordan to bite his lip and keep his thoughts to himself upon hearing that Arenas ended his silence for this purpose.
This was the wrong time, the wrong place, for Arenas to be celebrating his favorite topic -- himself. All that Saturday should've been about was encouraging his teammates to make an improbable bid to get back into the series with Cleveland. After all, that's what franchise players say in the playoffs.
Here's what they don't say: "I have to pat myself on the back for that one. I have the copies of the game and I have been giving them to all my teammates. I let them know that next year, October 2, they have no choice but to look at me. Your kids, brothers, sisters, they have no choice but to look at me. I'm not only in the game, I'm on the cover of it."
Arenas has been nowhere to be found since tearing a meniscus in his left knee on April 4. He hasn't traveled with the Wizards. He hasn't talked to the press. When his teammates could've used him telling the fans -- telling them, for that matter -- that he still believed in this team, to not give up on it, here was the first line of his blog after his injury: "Unfortunately, I've been catching glimpses of my team."
Just maybe, maybe, he could've understood that the Wizards could've used him around the gym here and there, just giving his guys a little nudge. He had been feeling sorry for himself, he said, and that's why he stayed away.
Arenas is a magnetic, charismatic personality. He has all the ability to make this Wizards franchise his own. Of course, the coaches and players know who the real leaders are on a team, and they'll tell you that it isn't Arenas in Washington.
Anyway, with his Wizards fighting for survival in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Arenas left everyone with this on his NBA.com blog about the video game cover.
"Do you realize how big this is?
"They can't tell me nothin'. Mannn. Ohhh. Lorddd.
"It makes my whole rehabbing that much better now. Because while rehabbing, all I'm thinking about is 'I'm on the cover of LIVE.' "
I'm sure Eddie Jordan is thrilled to hear that is Arenas' motivation for returning to Washington next season.
Listen, Arenas is a good guy with a good heart, but he's done enough to sell himself, to remind everyone that he's the second-round pick who transformed into a major star. For now, it should be about the Wizards trying to get one game on the Cavaliers, about a franchise fighting to hold onto a little pride. Agent Zero should've known better.