There was a time, not too long ago in fact, when Gilbert Arenas was the League’s most beloved personality. The media loved him for his outrageous quotes and irrepressible personality, and fans ate up the buckets and jerseys tossed into the crowd following each game.
That’s all changed now.
Arenas rarely breaks out his gregarious personality for public consumption these days, and plays a largely joyless game. Injuries have robbed him of some of his explosiveness, and last year’s gun incident forever sullied his image.
Arenas began the season on the bench, but has started 11 of the past 13 games. He’s averaged 17.4 points, 5.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 33.5 minutes per game. “I’m a different player,” he said. “Then I was an assassin. Now I’m just a guy trying to play the game the right way.” Gilbert Arenas says he has no problem turning over the Wizards’ reins to rookie John Wall. “I know my time here is over,” Arenas says. Wizards officials have applauded Arenas’ work ethic and competitiveness as he adjusts to playing off the ball. “The intensity is there from his part, the motivation is there and it’s going to be a process as we go along,” Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld said.
“When a young guy is coming in, the older guy never wants to move over,” Arenas said. “But I know my time here is over [as the face of the franchise]. I messed up my legacy here … In this league there is no such thing as long-term anymore,” Arenas said. “Players are getting shipped out and shipped out. I’m looking at the Kings like, when I first came [into the league], none of those players were here.”
“The Lakers team, the only person that was there was Kobe [Bryant], and Derek Fisher(notes) came back. There is a young team here [in Washington] and they’re trying to build some chemistry. I guess until they find the right deal that’s going to get me out of here, you know … I’m here.”
Well, that was thoroughly depressing.
Here’s to hoping the old Gil eventually resurfaces. Be that in D.C. or elsewhere.