Gilbert Arenas'(notes) candid nature swings both ways. About a month ago, he admitted to begging off of a Wizards exhibition game with a fake ankle injury in order to free up more playing time for young'ish Wizards guard Nick Young(notes).
November rolls around, and he's telling Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix (in a fantastic piece) that he actually wanted to sit out of the game because he was scared of being booed.
[Photos: See more of Wizards star Gilbert Arenas]
Here's the clip, via Bullets Forever:
Last Thursday, after practice in Washington, Arenas told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the real reason he sat out wasn't, as he originally told reporters, to rest his thrice-surgically-repaired knee, nor was it the excuse he gave the next day, that he wanted to give backup point guard Nick Young the chance to play. "I was really scared of getting booed," says Arenas. "It's a little crazy because I was here with Kwame Brown(notes) when Kwame was scared to go out there. I used to be like, Man, it's just boos. Now here I was six years later, and I was him. I was scared to go out there."
This is still wrong. You don't lie about injuries, and you don't take time off of your (very, very well-paid) job just because you're afraid about getting your feelings hurt.
But, somehow, the idea that Gilbert was out for his own insecure interests rather than looking out for Nick Young's interest as a burgeoning prospect is, somehow, more palatable. Because nobody likes to be disliked, and everyone can understand.
That said, you weren't getting booed, Gilbert. There's just no way. This isn't to say there isn't booing, even needless home-team booing, in the NBA. But fans are freaks, and I'm one of them (if for a different team), and if I've been a Wizards fan for ages and sat through the worst of your downs and saw you strutting out on the court even in a meaningless preseason game after a couple of years off (essentially), I'd clap away. Because you'd be on the team I support.
OK, that aside? Get to being Gilbert, already. And that doesn't mean doing something to a teammate's shoes.
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