Gilbert Arenas Ready to Resume His NBA Career in Memphis

by March 22, 2012

Gilbert Arenas, the newest member of the Memphis Grizzlies, says that he’s ready to be a positive veteran influence for his squad, and wants to move past the mistakes of his past. Check out this great Q&A with the Commercial Appeal: “Q. What motivates you today? A. ‘Basic basketball. When I look back on my career, besides a championship, I’ve done more than what people expected of me. When I sit down and think about basketball, I’m back to just loving the game of basketball. I’m about playing it the right way.’ Q. Why Memphis? A. ‘Because everyone was on board. When I talked to Chris (Wallace, Griz general manager), I was making sure everyone was happy with this pick. I didn’t want to come into a situation where you have someone happy, someone not happy. At this point in my career, I just want to be where someone wants me.’ Q. So does that mean you had other opportunities A. ‘Yeah, I had Atlanta early. New Jersey kept calling. But at that time I wasn’t ready. Physically, I was working on trying to find a way to help my knee out. Mentally, I was trying to rediscover myself — hashing out some of the stuff I’ve been going through the last couple of years. And then I went and tried out for the Lakers. Last week, (the Grizzlies) called and asked me to try out so I said ‘OK, I’ll get off the couch.’ Q. What are your expectations for this situation in Memphis? A. ‘To get better, have fun and enjoy it. You know, I don’t expect to take over. This team is well built. If I get some time, I get some time. But I also want to help Josh (Selby) and (Jeremy) Pargo learn the game a little better so when their careers take off they’ve gotten some good advice from a veteran.’ Q. Do you think it’s unfair that people have labeled you in a negative way because of the gun incident while you were with the Washington Wizards? A. ‘It is what it is. In this world, you can do a million things right and one thing can tear you down. People just run with it and I understand that. But it did hurt me. It hurt my spirit because as much as I help people in Washington, D.C., and around the world, I was labeled over what I feel is a spent story. People call me a thuggish player and a locker room wrecker. … Once I got labeled as that, I just wanted to hide. I didn’t want to be around people anymore. ‘That’s what you want me to be? Fine. I’ll just take my black mark and just go away.’ Q. What have you learned since all of that? A. ‘I go back and forth with that. It’s so hard and confusion. I just have to make the right decisions. You can’t get baited into situations. As an athlete and competitor you do sometimes. You make mistakes and you grow from them. I’m 30 years old now so I’ve grown a lot since the incident. The thing I try to get across to little kids and just people is when you do something wrong, be mature about it. It’s hard, too, because while you’re trying to grow and get into your own, people are trying to bring you down on the same incident. It’s two years later and my probation is about to be up and we’re still talking about something that happened in 2009. Whenever I read an article, it’ll say ‘Arenas hit the game-winner but he was still the guy in the locker room.’ People say when you win people will forget about it. But I figure that time and my generosity should make it go away. Things should be forgotten. I’ve done my time. I’ve moved past it and grown up. But if that’s what I’m known for I can’t do anything about it. I know I can’t make mistakes like that anymore.’”