I had a rough day today. Not only did my beloved Wildcats lose a thriller in overtime at the Outback Bowl, but I also learned of a death in my family (I love you Mamere. Rest in peace). I didn't think it would be too easy to come up with something to write tonight.
Fortunately, we have Gilbert Arenas.
Agent Zero has been a favorite of mine for years. In addition to his great talent and his long-standing war on all of the teams who passed on him in the 2001 draft (and considering he was a second rounder, that would be everybody), he's also pretty hilarious. I mean the whole "Hibachi" thing was just genius, and he seemed like he was headed for a great post-NBA career as the next Charles Barkley.
Now comes the report that Arenas had a locker-room altercation with teammate Javaris Crittenton last month that ended with the players drawing guns on each other. No word on whether the players had to count 50 paces first.
Early reports had this thing all stemming from an unpaid gambling debt (David Stern's gotta love this - Guns! Gambling! On Christmas!), but it looks like the two players have had problems with each other for some time. Arenas' official story is he wanted the guns out of his house because he doesn't want his three kids to find them. If true, that's commendable, but I'm having a hard time buying it.
Trying to read between the lines (and keep in mind that I'm not a reporter and have no inside information - I'm just a fan like you), it appeared that Arenas was either threatened by Crittendon and wanted to match him in an arms race, or - more likely - he wanted to do the threatening to make sure he got paid.
If Arenas thinks of himself as the leader of the team and felt Crittendon wasn't paying him what was his, that would be severe damage to his rep. What, this young punk thinks he can take my money? I'll show him.
If Arenas were the one owing money, I seriously doubt he would've pulled out a gun, but then again I don't know what leads someone to own guns, let alone what leads them to solve their dispute with guns. I definitely understand the under-reported history of athletes who feel they need to protect themselves at all times from the outside world, and if Arenas felt he needed a gun to protect himself, I wouldn't begrudge that. However, it certainly didn't seem like it was necessary to have three guns - unloaded or not - at his place of business.
Whatever happens - and I'm sure there will be more to this story - it looks like both players are looking at serious suspensions and possible jail time. Stern won't let this thing go lightly, and Arenas, owner of one of the most untradeable contracts in the league, is going to need to earn his way back into the good graces of many fans of the NBA.