Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 at 6:53 pm  |  79 responses

Gilbert Arenas: The First Blog Superstar?

How Agent Zero took advantage of the ‘net to become an All-Star…

by Lang Whitaker

First, sorry I haven’t posted more today or yesterday. We’re pretty busy ’round here these days putting out our next issue of SLAM.

In between proofreading and scheming up hilarious headlines for stories, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogs the last few days. I have a blog. You probably have a blog. We all have blogs. Blogs are no longer cool or cutting edge — now they’re just there, a modern innovation we all take advantage of. I rarely read web pages anymore, now I probably read more blogs than anything else. I used to write a column on a website, but we switched everything here at SLAMonline over to blogging software just because it’s so much easier for everyone involved. AOL wanted themselves a piece of that blog advertising money so they went out and got a bunch of the best sports bloggers to write for them. Even ESPN is about to get into the blog game.

This is mostly a great thing. I love reading what everyone has to say, because you, our readers, are the people we’re trying to please here at SLAM. And now it’s easier than ever for us to converse with you and kind of get an idea of what the critical mass is talking about.

I’ve mostly been thinking about NBA blogs because there’s a ton of really good NBA stuff out there, and I want The Links and SLAMonline to stay good and new and fresh. I don’t know exactly how to do that, but that’s why I’ve been thinking about basketball blogs.

All of that got me thinking today about Gilbert Arenas, and I came to this conclusion: Gilbert is the internet’s first Blog-fueled superstar. In the past, Gilbert would have been the kind of player who came along and got his features in SLAM and then SI and then would’ve been mentioned in the notes sections of various newspapers as a quirky dude. But blogs have limitless space, and Gilbert continually fills those areas.

It’s almost like Gilbert came into his own during the perfect storm. Blogs went crazy, and the voluminous Wizards blogs were all there to cover it and cover it well. Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog has feasted on Gil info for the last few months, as has the Wizards’ beat writer blogs at the Post. All the fan blogs, from Wizznutz to MVN to Gilbertology and on and on have been there, covering Gilbert like crazy. Gil has a wacky birthday party? Everyone’s there! Gil gets the altitude adjusted at his house? Blog it! even his “Agent Zero” nickname came from a blog. (Holler, Wizznutz.)

The point of all of this? I’m wondering how much of Gilbert’s forthcoming All-Star appearance is directly related to the blog explosion and Gilbert’s starring role within the blogosphere. We put Gilbert on a SLAM cover six months ago and it didn’t make much of a splash. Now, just over 100 days later, Gilbert’s voted a starter on the NBA All-Star Team? The general public has taken note of Gilbert, fast, and I’m not sure that would’ve happened six months back. Heck, a year ago the coaches didn’t even put him on the team.

Agree? Disagree? Does this post make any sense? Well, it does in my head. Anyway, back to work…

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  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Again, i truly despise you for your job Mr. Whitaker. Seeing those three crowded around your notebook, smiling at your blog (yeah right) or whatever, just gave me a rush of jealousy. U lucky guy. I will now poke my eyeball with a fork.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    We were looking at that video of The Air Up There doing the 720. At least that’s what Gilbert told me to tell people.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    about Gil0 though, blogs surely play a big part of his immense popularity, but it all started last playoffs where he more than held his own against the “king”. Then the 3 Stripe brand decided to grace him with a signature, and he began shooting off his mouth at EVERY mic he could find during pre season, so he’s now become a part of pop culture. Hitting 35 foot game winners and generally being unstoppable wasn’t a hindrance either. Plus, his swag IS phenomenal.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Uh huh, “air up there doing the 720″ must be code for “boobies”. Just kidding Lang, though it is cool that those guys would even be impressed by such a feat. Guessing there’s not much they haven’t seen in this sport.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    The blog explosion was perfect for a guy like Gilbert, cause with so much info so easy to access, people skim for headlines and excerpts more. The more unusual stories tend to be more popular and what’s more unusual than the behavior of Gilbert?

  • Patrick

    i’m not dscounting your theory at all. However the issue of slam you’re talking about came out before this season. Gilbert’s been playing completely out of his mind this year, i’m sure that had something to do with it as well.

  • Tom Jackson

    Does anyone else remember Lang being all excited and hyper about the fact that SLAMOnline was going to start adding ad banners. I remember it being mentioned in the Links about oh, late 2002? Then we started seeing those legweight jump systems being put up. Then there was that generic proactive ad. lol … Now we’ve got Nike ads.

  • http://www.gilbertology.net Gilbertology


  • Matt Wens

    on ur theory sam, ronron should be a mega star…

  • http://www.ihtraptors.blogspot.com coach

    no matter how many blogs gilbert has , he won’t make the starting 5 of the east if :

    1. allen iverson is still in philly .
    2. or vince carter did not pissed off the nets fans by not resigning .

    gilbert was only ahead of VC by a mere 1,300 votes and way below AI’s total !

  • http://slamonline.com mutoni

    blogs suck! just a stupid fad that’ll never last. mark my words.

  • http://thehype.wordpress.com TheHype

    Tooting my horn: MY reason why GilZero is bananas
    And yes, I’ll run for every last mileage I can get :)

  • nham

    read gil’s blog. it’s entertaining to see how things look through gilbert’s eyes.

  • http://thehypeguy.com TheHype

    mutoni: totally agree. I can’t wait until Geocities makes its triumphant return to html superlord!!

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Maha10k

    I think you’ve hit it Lang. Arenas’ hype has mostly been fueled by the net and his blog. He is the first player to become a star without really being crammed down our throats, he’s a grassroots superstar. If he comes through on his promise to score 50 against the Blazers, he’ll be a legend.

  • http://www.yaysports.com/nba Brian

    It’s kinda like a band that sells out small clubs across the country and gathers a huge fanbase, then goes mainstream. The blogs are the clubs, I guess. Or something something something.

    I always wonder how it is the blogs pick up on something like Gil before the mainstream. We’re all just people, right? it’s not like blogs see some world that the mainstream doesn’t see.

    Is it just because bloggers are younger for the most part?

  • will lang

    why the cold shoulder man?

  • Wizfan41

    Gil is amazing and Blogs are amazinger.(sic)

  • Reggie Evans

    Were you peeping at video of Tim Legler’s girl?

  • http://slamonline.com mutoni

    brian, i think you’re on your way to the right answer. for the most part, bloggers tend to be younger than mainstream writers. also, our sensibilities are different than theirs. so, gilbert making his pitbulls run on the treadmill will inspire an article/post, whereas a mainstream writer would just shake his head and finish his piece on the latest trade rumor.

  • WeS

    I think blogging has definately helped his popularity. Its part of tehinflux of technology that allows everyone to start in their own reality show. Thingslike Facebook, MySpace, blogs, etc, are allowing people to connect and learn about any and everything. So when I posted a video of Gil’s damn near half-court buzzer beater on facebook, people took notice. SLAM could get somebody voted an all-star if you really made a push for it… not Eddy Curry though. Nice try.

  • Gilbert0

    Gil speaks his mind and is honest, that is what has made himself so popular on the net.
    Gil is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sports Bog

    I agree with pretty much all of this, and would only add that I, for one, cannot wait until the James Lang blog drops.

  • http://www.myspace.com/russellkeewatin Chief

    I think Gil also comes across as not cocky but sincere. Agent 0 was on a mission. He has accomplished a lot and i hope he scores 82 on Portland. His swag aids in not making him look cocky but confident. He has my vote.

  • dma

    gilbert arens would have been a superstar earlier had he not punked carlos boozer in that rookie game.

    or maybe that helped him.

    glad he made it though.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    You nailed it, Mutoni, about the sensibilities. The beat writers write so much that they’re kind of programmed to look for specific stuff to fit all their sections. The rest of us are just looking for whatever’s interesting.

  • Nine XXVI

    Once again, lol bloggers.

  • JpT

    I think what got Gilbert famous is the swagger that he has. killing opponents with those long 3′s. No one in his right mind would do that kind of stunt. Agent Zero can.

  • JpT

    and Nike’s ad is awesome! we had it in commercials and billboards here!

  • http://slamonline.com apaul

    mutoni, any beat writer who found out gil runs pitbulls on a tradmill and ignored it should be fired.

  • Kene

    ..correct me if i’m wrong, but wasn’t it j-rich that punked boozer by bouncing the ball off his head before taking a jumpshot in the rookie game? That wasn’t Gil,…he was still doing relatively ‘normal’ stuff back then, like not taking a shot for 3 quarters then going off for 20 in the fourth ’cause his coach called him a ball-hog.

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Blog bloggedy blog blog. Super blog!

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Seriously though, at what point does the fact that everyone really DOES have a blog start to cancel out the effect of said blogs? Is this not as inevitable as Tim Legler’s divorce in the next 5-7 years?

  • http://mvn.com/nba-endofthebench Chris Clarke

    Arenas is the Fall Out Boy of NBA basketball.

  • http://www.zio.ch Darksaber

    Hmm, knowing that you kinda dislike the man and that the raptors hypemachine is in full effect in this report (contenders huh?): http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/chris_mannix/01/29/raptors.colangelo/index.html
    I wonder why i keep thinking of a pimp when i look at Colangelo in the picture? Dude looks quite ummm groomed, don’t ya think Lang?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    It was indeed J-Rich, off Boozer (when he was with Cleveland). Just making a joke.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I have never said I dislike the Bryan Colangelo. I just think he dresses weird.

  • http://www.zio.ch Darksaber

    Never were truer words spoken Mr. Whitaker. Kinda get the feeling Jerry’s trying toooo hard to look metrose… i mean fashionable. The sleazy pimp, can’t find fault in his trade decisions so far though.

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Bryan, you mean.

  • http://www.zio.ch Darksaber

    i meant ;-) Damn you guys do love being nitpicky huh?

  • http://www.zio.ch Darksaber

    But since i have youse all attention, could you give me some info? My lady gave me a two year subscription to the mag for my 30th, and i would really like to go on subscribing. Anyway i can check my status online? Ryan, Lang? Starbury the dog? Anyone?

  • bdictjames

    Gilbert is the most deserving guard in the East to have that starter spot.

  • William

    Gilbert has as many swagger as Capt Jack Sparrow himself.

  • Latane

    His blog helped but the reason he got voted in was because he was pushed so hard by Addidas and ESPN. I see his commercial almost every day and even when he has a bad game Sports Center shows his highlights. I think he deserves to start and should get consideration for the MVP if the Wizards finish first in the east ( it won’t happen). Nash is awesome but I think the Suns could still win a decent amount of games without him. You can’t say the same thing for the Wizards if Arenas wasn’t playing. Sorry this is so long…

  • Belly Bell
  • JLW

    I think Gilbert Arenas is what is wrong with the NBA. I have never heard “team first” out of his mouth. He is always concered about the what coach spurned him or what coach cut him. It is getting old. Isn’t he the guy who missed practice because Earl Boykins was getting more clock than him? He should be more concerned about how his team does-less concered about how many points he gets. He is shooting 43% for crying out loud. Manute Bol could could score 50 if he shot 43%!!!

  • kcshaw

    Hmmmmm, Let’s see, did anyone catch that game Gilbert had against Portland? What a pathetic performance. He and a majority of these so called “Superstars” have turned the NBA into a sour product. The only worthwhile teams to watch in the NBA are the Bulls, Suns, and maybe the Spurs. Way to back up those words, Gilbert. He’s mad he didn’t get selected for the USA team. Well, he shouldn’t have been selected. Who would he have replaced? He’s pathetic as well as most of the NBA product. I wonder why the NFL is so popular. They promote the team? You can only market individuals so much before people get turned off and that has happened with these spoiled NBA players. Gilbert has no class and shouldn’t even be called a professional. Way to play against Portland, though. Good job.

  • JLW

    I agree with you kcshaw. Pathetic product is the NBA. Gilbert is so concerned about what he didn’t get or who cut him, it gets old. You never, ever heard the greats of the past saying such nonsense!!

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  • cornelius

    JLW seems to forget that MJ used the name of the guy he was cut for in High School whenever he checked into a hotel on the road.

  • jlw

    Cornelius-That is a lot different than saying he can score 80 on Duke or 50 on Portland and Phoenix. He has no class.

  • jlw

    The NBA scolds Arenas for making bets with the fans in the stands. Gilbert is selfish and a self promoter.

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  • Giacoooo

    go arenas go

  • http://thesportsflow.blogspot.com/ Stefan

    Gilbert Arenas is awesome. Check out my blog titled “The Sports Flow”… http://thesportsflow.blogspot.com/

  • Billy kek Jr.

    Boston just gut better,but I will put our big three and team up against them.Hope that the Wizards atleast some of them get mad a come out and prove that when healthy they are very good.Now defense?????

  • Jordan

    The Celtics just made some amazing moves by getting KG and Ray Allen. With them two and Pierce, do you think they can win the NBA Championship?

  • http://www.clutch3.com The Spin

    I just want to point out that Agent Zero really is a Blog Superstar. The title fits him perfectly. He’s better than all of us because he’s credible and he tells it like it is. I love everything about his writing. You can check out my attempts to match him at http://www.clutch3.com

  • http://na Dave Wall

    Gilbert is really that a big an idiot isn’t he???

  • R. G.

    Gilbert is a blog superstar and an NBA superstar, period.

  • Airbeast23

    Gil is a GOOD ball player,he is the only player I know that can score 30,40,50 even 60 + points and miss two free throws in a playoff game because someone whispered in his ear. In stead advertising that he has a tent, and is commited to shooting 100,000 shots, let’s hear the how he has worked on his defense and how he is mentally prepared himself to get his team to the ECF!! That number on his jersey represents what he has done to get his team where it should be given the talent he and his team mates have. Perhaps, this is too harsh. Good! maybe he sees this and takes his team where it has to go.

  • anon

    sorry, slamonline, but gilbert arenas would have to be the second blog superstar. the first would definitely have to go to paul shirley, perennial benchwarmer who’s played in insignificant leagues and spent time riding the pine for the likes of steve nash and co. and oh, did I mention? paul has a book out now.

  • JJ

    Allen Iverson should have a blog and not these tools like arenas and kobe.

  • kb24 the dagger

    hey jj ur an idiot iveron is an old mother fo whos worn out

  • JJ

    Allen Iverson should have a blog NOT these tools like arenas and kobe. YEAAAA RIGHTTT Alllen iverson #1 Nuggets Championship team

  • http://Myspace.com Kevin

    Look I Think The Big 3 Is The Best In The League Because Antwaan, Caron, Gilbert Can All Produce so i think they all can make th al star team

  • cliff

    u got game u put it on kobe hope u have a great season and how is the rookie dominic mcGuire doing

  • david carrion

    hello i want to know why nba players once they get their guaranteed money,they stop performing like all start that they are.the nba should be like the nfl.dont perform we cut you no payday. gilbert u need to take everything to the rack.mj got famous the potential is there u still young bring the rim down. thank u.

  • http://www.4shoshowtime4sho.com SHOWTIME ARNETT

    Good luck in the upcoming season and hopefully I can get a chance to finally meet you. People say we look alike, you have to see for yourself.

  • http://www.4shoshowtime4sho.com SHOWTIME ARNETT

    I went to same high school with Jason Gardner and I know I can beat you one on one 4sho…

  • john

    Gilbert..Celtics are kicking your ass..what you have to say now? NOTHING..your team sucks and you suck..Celtics will control your ass all year long..
    JP –from Boston, Mass…BABY….

  • brian

    what happen with beating boston? you got a mud stomped in ya!!!

  • alex

    i hate the G wizz but Gilbert is one of my favoirtes, along with Kobe Wade and LeBron

  • http://pms1313pamela7msn.com max

    Let me start by saying Gilbert u are it.
    I love the way u do u. your smile is out of this world!
    I have a few things I would like to speak on. 1- your lady friend to me. Nasty One of the first things I am looking for when I visit a man. Is to see if he is clean. If not I let him know I am NOT what he is looking for. Imean please u are not only well off but out right rich. So could u please tell me why she could not have someone clean the the car? Please no time I am a single mom that makes less than 20,000 a year my daughter is in privet school plays Basketball, Karte panio and track. I work two jobs and am running from day to night. and still find time to keep my apt clean. I teach my daughter that cleaness is next to Godlyness. Now if she does not work and gets to stay home with the kids all day what the heck is the problem????? NASTY NOT ME
    Sorry. sister get a clue. you are blessed.
    My thoughts on your mom. what I think. As I told u I myself am a single mom. I do not no the hole story nore do you. For one u have not talked to her. My daughters father left me wondering what I was going to do, he cared?? Yes he was going to get his life together. yet I was still alone. Yes he said he cared yet I was still alone. Yes he helped at first with money Yet I was still alone. My point; yong in the world not sure what to do we sometimes turn to the wrong person or thing. or things in life. Are we perfect NO does that mean we should not get chance to some how make things right? 3- You have sisters and a brother that u have not spoke with why?? What did they do? Disier to no there brother. Not asking for money that u have wrote, A sweet yong lady wondering what she did for u not to want to Be bothered with her. I sayy this because my daughter now 12 does’nt understand why dad does not call or write. What did she do? Even if you are not ready to talk to mom yet. what did the kids do??? 4- about bing a bum my father is one. A teacher wrote a book on him a few years ago. I have not seen him seance I was about 8or9. And after reading the book. I tell u I would not want to be a bum I work 2 jobs now and it is just enouf to keep food on the table. so $20 a day why. Kill someone never sale myself never give u on life I just might. I thank God for Jesus who keeps me grounded. My faith (God)is what keeps me going from day to day. Thank you Jesus!!!! Gilbert you are so down to earth why are u so in left field on this? Your brother and sister have nothing to do with the other.
    Oh by the why can a fan get her jersey signed. After all you did give it to me.
    (smile God loves you and so do I)

    Ps. If you need a womam to take care of the kids, keep the house clean, cook your food (healthy) Massage you; and take care of business. Let a Lady No! Professional Massage Therapist-Licenseed,Certified,expert,Specialized,and skilled!!!

  • jelgc

    paleto,bobo,tonto,ignorante,cobarde… traduce esto, imbecil

  • kyrann

    Arenas, as an old Black Women in the south, I feel that yo say things that shows your character.

    Please leave Mr. Kobe Bryant along in your negative comments. He has proven to all fans all over the world that he is the best-hard playing ball, playing when injured, and almost everything you can name professionallly. What have you struggled to do? You shoot the ball well but you put too much into showboating to be for real. Let the playing on the court tell the story and you have not done that.

    Unlike, these other young so called stars, he never had a teammate to injure another player.
    They have won their conference by hurting the leading players in some way.

    Mr. Bryant plays ball and that is it. It appears to most old people that GOD HAS GIVEN HIM THE GIFT TO THRILL THE FANS, PLAY AT A LEVEL THAT MOST OF THE PLAYERS IN THIS ERA WILL NEVER EQUAL!!!!!
    Stop the jealousy mess. Get on the truth wagon that KOBE IS THE BEST IN THIS ERA AND THEN MAYBE GOD WILL HELP YOU.

  • http://SLAM India

    Oh I get it… On this site you can’t say nothing bad with regard to Gilly. Okay well f*ck Gilbert then.

  • http://yahoo karl greene

    This is something I think the world should know. I was the Chef for Earl Watson, of the Oklahoma city, thunder. In 10-09, Mr. Watson received my services then would not pay. I took him to small claims court, and he lost. Now the Okc thunder is saying that there is no monnies do Mr.Watson, So they will in no way help me to receive payment. Are we to beleive that NBA, players are above the law? Please blogg about this. Let them Know that it is people just like me who help to pay that big check that they get