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Gilbert's Arrival

Our story, continued....first episode here....also, I mistakenly said the shoe would retail for $125 earlier. That's not true. It's $90 for the low-top, and $95 for the mid-top. The low-top will go for 90 € in Europe, and for 888 RMB in Asia.

By the time Captain Caveman and I rushed back into the Store, Gil still hadn't made his public appearance. There were ropes and lots of cameras and cameramen.

I was expecting a dramatic entrance. Maybe him parachuting from the sky wearing a crown and loincloth, accompanied by palm fronds and an orchestra of Polynesian ukulele players. Or possibly him rising out of the NBA Store's "Center Court" on a floating Grecian Dinghy while handing out Platonic texts and baklava and possibly shooting laser beams out of his finger tips.

Soon Gil appeared, wearing baggy pants and loafers and a large white t-shirt. Everyone clapped. Then he spent 20 minutes signing autographs. That about took care of the whole line. I tried to figure out whether this trip would lead to my firing.

The Gil Zero low-top, in White-Rust-Lone Blue. (Courtesy Adidas)

I used my media pass to get inside the ropes while he signed autographs. There were a lot of handshakes and well-wishes and pleasant small talk. And signatures. One Golden State fan told Gil how much he missed him and asked what he thinks of Monta Ellis. (Gil likes his energy.) One fan asked about the new basketball. ("It doesn't matter, it's a ball," he said.) One fan asked how Gil was doing. ("Good, how are you?" he replied). One fan told Gil that he tried to get him on his fantasy basketball team by offering Shawn Marion, but that his fellow owner refused the trade, and that this was a sign that Gil's stock was rising. ("For Shawn Marion???" Gil asked.) One fan told Gil that he was going to vote for him for the all-star game. (I'm gonna vote for myself, too," Gil said.)

There were a few dramatic developments. A rogue Wizznutzz intern appeared and introduced himself while Gil sat at the table signing. "I should have done like a Borat thing and put him in a sack," the rogue intern said wistfully. Meanwhile, Gil's PR people tried to score tickets to last night's Arizona-Louisville game.

Also, Gil had a whole bunch of TV spots planned, and some Important People seemed to be worried about his lack of a collared shirt. They held up a green Adidas warm-up jacket, and he assured them that the size was right, and so he went downstairs (to "Center Court") in the green jacket, security tag still on, while Important People debated whether he would later set off the sensors when he left the store to do his ESPN interview wearing the green jacket.

"That'll be great on the news: NBA player steals Adidas jacket," a security guard said.

I followed them downstairs and watched Gil as he examined all the photos of other NBA players on the walls. I didn't see any Gilbert photos. I'm guessing that means he goes for 47 tonight.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 6, 2006; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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