Its hard being a basketball player sometimes. Its even harder when you’re a basketball player that was a superstar, and then was injured, and then was busted for pointing guns at people (momma always said never to point things at people), and then was suspended because of his gun-wielding and then came back only to find that your superstar status on your team was taken from you by a rookie.
And in case you didn’t know, that would be Gilbert Arenas’ story. Its tough to swallow, for sure.
But usually, you’re supposed to be able to bounce back from these kind of things. Or at least try. Gilbert hasn’t done either. From FanHouse.com:
"Teach John (Wall) the ins and outs of the game and then eventually go on and move on, and I'm on my way,'' Arenas said after playing with the point guard and No. 1 draft pick Wall for the first time in a 97-94 preseason win over Dallas at the American Airlines Center.
Wait a minute. Move on? What does that mean?
"I mean, this is the NBA,'' said Arenas, speaking for eight minutes after the game and for the first time since barely talking to reporters for three minutes at the team's Sept. 27 media day. "There's few players that stay in the same city. Right now, the city is John's. I'm not here to fight anybody. I'm here to just play alongside him. He's Batman and I'm Robin. When I came (to Washington in the summer of 2003), Larry (Hughes) moved aside for me to become a star and I'm moving aside so he can become a star.''
That’s tough to even read, you guys. Gilbert Arenas was once one of the most charismatic and special players in the NBA. He had a Dwight Howard-type of thing going, with his always-upbeat attitude.
But now, we’re seeing a completely different Gilbert Arenas. To paraphrase, Gilbert Arenas said he hates basketball, is giving up being a great player to let John Wall shine and plans to leave the Wizards at some point.
What Gilbert Arenas is displaying in his second chance with the Washington Wizards is that he needs attention. And not the “oh look at me, feel really bad for me while I still make millions of dollars as a second fiddle” kind of attention. But just that “It’s okay, Gilbert” sort of support.
It’s true that Gilbert Arenas has done some questionable stuff. He is (probably) only human, after all. He’s made stupid mistakes and he has said some stupid stuff. But is that enough to have to be depressed?
It could be.
Gilbert Arenas is the kind of guy that loves to love and be loved. He loved the game of basketball and he loved playing for the Washington Wizards, even if they were a really crappy team during his prime in D.C.
But here he is, talking about “moving on” once he has helped John Wall get going. He says he has “lost all feeling,” and that is something you hear that should alarming coming from a guy as rowdy and light-hearted as Arenas.
Yet, sportswriters across the globe are talking about his behavior as attention-seeking and self-pitiful. Come on, guys. The dude is suffering from something. You can’t pull off a charade like this for this long.
This is what needs to happen: Gilbert Arenas needs support. He needs a boost to get him going again, because if he keeps slipping into this type of depressive mood he is in right now, things won’t end pretty. The very best that will come out of it is that we will see one of the more entertaining players retire quicker than expected. The very worst? The worst you can expect from someone when they are battling depression.
I, personally, cannot stand seeing Gilbert like this. And not because I’m on an apparent first-name basis with him (which I’m not), but because, like him or not, he’s fun to watch.
And for him to not even crack a smile in front of the media? That’s very alarming and very not-cool.