When Caron Butler calmly and adroitly relayed his account of the fight and eventual gun-brandishing staredown between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton from 2009, it seemed like a reasonable and reliable re-telling. Butler refused to make either of his ex-teammates heroes, before lamenting the idea (and eventual fact) that the incident would encourage a teardown of the entire Wizards roster.
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Gilbert Arenas, because this is what he’s done for an unfunny decade and counting, had to chime in with his own recollection via Instagram. In a series of since-deleted posts, transcribed and cleaned up by Kevin Draper at Deadspin, Arenas claims differing sets of playing card values led to a fight between Arenas and Crittenton as they watched JaVale McGee and Earl Boykins argue over when, exactly, Boykins would receive the $200 McGee owed him.
When Arenas called out Crittenton for owing not only Gilbert but Butler scads of money, Crittenton (according to Arenas) snapped, lashing out at Arenas’ $16.1 million contract while claiming that he had little room to talk when a matter of a few hundred dollars was concerned. He paired those with some angry bouts of rulebook thumping when it came to the decorum behind the game Bouree.
Arenas, via those deleted Instagrams, detailed the rest to the best of his recollection.
When the plane lands he walks back talking tough, saying if we were in the streets “I’d pop you in your knees.” I said “[Expletive] I’ll give you the guns to do it on Monday.” It was Saturday, and we had Sunday off. I get to the gym on Monday at 8 a.m. and put four empty guns on his chair and a note that said “pick one.” No one saw me touch a gun or put them there. With Crittenton came in I was in the training room. Crittenton, DeShawn Stevenson, Andray Blatche, and Dominic McGuire were the only ones in the locker room when I walked in.
So Crittenton says “what’s this [expletive]?” I said “you said you were gonna shoot me so [expletive] there go guns so pick one,” meaning pick the one you are going to shoot me with like you said. He said “I don’t need this [expletive].” That’s when Caron is now in the room, and a trainer. Crittenton takes the guns off his seat and throws them on the floor, hitting the trainer’s foot. He runs into the training room and Crittenton pulls out a little silver gun that Eddie Murphy shot the pinkie toe off with lol (I’m not going to say if it was loaded or pointed at me, no need to bash a man who can’t defend his name). Let’s just say I started laughing and said “put that Harlem Nights gun away, look at the [expletive] I’m GIVING you, imagine what I have at home so you can keep those.” The [expletive] end.
JaVale picks up my guns and takes them to my car. Caron hides Crittenton’s gun in the locker room. I was in the jacuzzi so Crittenton comes in with me and we started talking and he said I play too much, and I told him he was just a hot head. We started shooting around.
So, the difference in accounts, we suppose, is Butler claiming that he saw Arenas lay out the guns (rather than Gilbert putting them in place prior to the team’s entrance to the locker room), and a dispute as to when and how, exactly, Crittenton pulled a gun on Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas brought up Crittenton being unable to defend himself because, as you’ll recall, he is currently serving a 23-year jail sentence for murder.
Regarding the league’s reaction to the aftermath, Arenas seems somewhat sanguine lo these many years later:
They called Crittenton first to ask what happened. I was last so the story became I pulled a gun and wanted to shoot Crittenton. But I owed him money LMAO. I owe money but I’m gonna shoot you #WhereTheyDoThatAt. If he owed me money, I make $20 million so I wouldn’t pull a GUN for $1,100 SMDH.
Arenas went on to say that he gave Crittenton $60,000 to help his mother with medical bills. Both Arenas and Crittenton were suspended for the remainder of the 2009-10 season. Arenas was dealt from Washington to Orlando a month into 2010-11, and Crittenton would never play another NBA game.
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Gilbert Arenas’ career was already derailed by the time of the incident due to knee injuries, he played just 15 total games the two previous seasons and was working through a so-so campaign with the Wizards in 2009-10, and we’re at least thankful he didn’t try to pin his poor post-suspension showing on the NBA’s ruling.
From here, we await JaVale McGee’s response.
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