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Arenas and George Mason

1) Bog friend Adrian Wojnarowski posted his homage to Arenas over at Yahoo!!!!!!!! Sports. Worth a read. Which is sorta like the copy writer at the Safeway circular pointing out to his readers that the NY Times might be worth a look every now and again, but still.

There's one great Gil quote that I must have missed yesterday when I ducked out of the weight room and instead spent some time listening to Brendan Haywood.

(Making me, without a doubt, the first blogger in world history who left a Gilbert Arenas discourse to listen to Brendan Haywood. Really, it's hard to imagine a more ridiculously stupid thing for a blogger to do. And what, pray tell, did Brendan say yesterday? Well, at one point, he tossed his dirty towel at Wiz Director of Player Personnel Milt Newton, who promptly tossed it back.

"Hey man, that's got my sweat on it," Brendan said. "That's a collectible.")

(Btw, the reader who first e-mailed me about Gil's birthday party set off a chain of events that resulted in that party now being described on basically every news and sports Web site in the world. Good work, readers. More, please.)

Anyhow, here's what Woj writes:

So there was Arenas waiting around the Verizon Center on Tuesday, wanting to hear word that he had been voted the Eastern Conference player of the month. What? He's supposed to pretend that he doesn't care? He does. They all do. He admits it. And for his 25th birthday later this week he's throwing a starry bash in his honor, with P Diddy as host and Busta Rhymes and lil' Wayne on the music. Happy birthday to me, the loner, Gilbert Arenas decided.

They love him in Washington, where he belongs to the people much more than Michael Jordan ever did here. He's planning to give away 20,000 Arenas jerseys at a late-season sellout at home, just to give everyone in the house a little piece of him. For all the advice that Bryant gave him on shot selection after blasting the Lakers for 60 points, Arenas had some for Kobe on connecting with the souls surrounding the sport.

"I was telling, Caron (Butler), 'How does Kobe get his Mojo back?' Well, if he gave out 20,000 jerseys of that No. 24, oh man, L.A. would eat it up because of how powerful he is. But he doesn't do it."

Kobe will always be a great player, always be more popular, but he'll never connect with the common, struggling soul the way that Gilbert Arenas does. People get it with Arenas because they understand his story, his journey. He's one of them.

Amen, Woj.

2) Bog friend Huan Hsu over at Washington City Paper figured out how exactly George Mason managed to get oodles of thousands of dollars of free publicity for a few pennies. Well, lots of pennies, but still. If you were watching the Boise State-Oklahoma game, in between the announcers nattering on about the "Little Dogs" somehow hanging with the "Big Dogs" (who were unbelievably massive 7-POINT-FAVORITES), they showed a full-page ad that Mason took out in the Idaho Statesman. The shot lingered. That's a lot of George Mason publicity. Lots of game preview stories provided lots more. About a football game. Involving two teams located well outside the Beltway.

Huan writes:

It all started about two weeks ago during the build-up to the Fiesta Bowl, when George Mason president Alan G. Merten noticed the media describing Boise State with the same kind of words as they had used during the Patriots' Final Four run this spring. Merten, who has a heightened sensitivity for ascendant schools, decided to get in touch with Boise State President Bob Kustra to give his regards. The two presidents had a nice chat, and after a few moments of reflection, Merten called George Mason vice-president of university relations Christine LaPaille and suggested she put in ad in "the local paper in Boise."....

Merten had no idea that a spur of the moment gesture from one non-BCS school to another would generate so much attention. Since the game, he's received dozens of calls and e-mails from people from Idaho to Iraq. "Yes, it was a great marketing success, but when I picked up the phone to call the president of Boise State, it was the farthest thing from my mind," says Merten. "Did I sit down and think, how can we get our name referenced on Fox? Of course not."

Now, if they could have just figured out a way to get some face time for Gunston and the Mason Pimp....

Hey, by the way, is Gunston dead yet?

Incidentally, I think Mason beating three recent national champions in a four-game stretch, including the odds-on favorite to win the 2006 national title, while beginning the tourney without one of its starting guard, was a wayyyyy bigger upset than undefeated Boise State making it past an Oklahoma team whose conference went something like 2-5 in bowl games, but whatever. It's still an interesting item.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 3, 2007; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Wizards  
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Next: More Lists: Top 11 Local Sports Moments From 2006

Comments

Growing up in a sports town, where aside from Gibbs first term, the teams have stunk, especially the Les Boulet/Wizards, it's nice to see that we have a star in Gilbert. I mean we've got a star in Alex, but the Caps need to do some damage in the playoffs before this place even remotely starts resembling a hockey town.
The Skins will always be top dog around here but they're the Skins first, players second, despite them having "quirky" guys like Portis and Cooley. Even Riggo and his "Sandy Baby" attitude weren't bigger than the Skins in general.
The NBA is a star league and Gilbert is giving this city the chance to experience what's it's like to have a star in your town. I'm enjoying every second of it. Especially the 60 on Kobe and taking a bow in front of his hometown crowd.

Posted by: David Betancourt | January 3, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Boise St was ranked higher than OU in the BCS standings. People are making this out to be more of an upset than it was. It wasn't even an upset, according to the BCS poll. Still a hell of a game, though.

Posted by: cinderella-is-a-man | January 3, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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