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Gilbert, in the Blogs, Again, With Many Chuck Klosterman References

And Gil's own blog actually takes second fiddle to True Hoop, who interviewed Chuck Klosterman about his upcoming Gilbert NYTimes Mag story. The key point of the story, at least through Henry Abbott's eyes, seems to be that Gilbert is not really all that weird. Which, at this point, is basically the only way to go with a big story. Either you write "Gilbert's weird," or you write "Gilbert's not weird." Or, I guess, you do the Mike Wise treatment. Regardless, go read Henry's site, but here's the key passage:

There have been many "that wacky Gilbert" stories. You're telling another one: that Gilbert Arenas is not nuts at all. (Yes, I'm counting that as a question.)

I just felt like there has become this very rote way for people to write about Arenas. Because we've grown so used to athletes always saying meaningless cliches, everyone thinks Gilbert is a frothing lunatic, simply because he has a vaguely visible personality (and a willingness to admit his insecurities and desires). Arenas is hard to understand, but he isn't particularly weird. I mean, guys like Kobe and Lebron obsess over never expressing any sentiment that doesn't fit within a purposefully dull persona that never seems to relax; in many ways, that kind of behavior seems weirder than Gilbert's.

I don't know if I want to enter into a dueling weirdness battle. When someone as genius as Klosterman thinks Gilbert "isn't particularly weird," it forces me to enter the pit of treacherous self-doubt. Am I wrong? Have I been misleading the world? I think about this constantly, truth be told. The way I see it, Gilbert speaks with "the world" in a more normal tone of voice than any athlete I've ever dealt with, certainly in the NBA. He talks to you without any pretense. It's jarring, and immediately striking. It makes you think he's very, very normal. But he also will say stranger things than any athlete I've ever dealt with. Does it just seem that way because the rest are all trying to put on a boring face? Or is it 100 percent an act for our benefit, since he talks all the time about being an entertainer? Dunno, maybe. But meeting a fan over the Internet and then inviting him to be a ball boy and keeping in frequent contact with him, that's unusual. It's different. Which makes it not normal. Same thing with explaining that you couldn't stay for an interview session because you had to go catch "Hannibal Rising" and there was only one showing. Or leaving yourself funny messages to fill up your cell phone mailbox. Or getting a full body tiger tattoo, because the tiger is the king of the jungle. Or, you know, jumping off a trampoline during the all-star game.

I anxiously, anxiously look forward to reading Klosterman's story, and I admit that I've invested myself in the "Gilbert's unusual" side of the story, but I don't think I'm imagining things here. Dude's different.

Like, check out his blog. First of all, not many NBA superstars have photos of themselves in Fedora with typewriter. Seriously, he's stealing my fedora shtick? That's what it's come to?

Anyhow, he talks about naming his upcoming son "Little Boy Arenas" (although that was a clear joke), and he thanks Dan Shanoff for giving him a blogging award (and hey Shanoff, thanks from me too, appreciate the love), and he responds to the Mister 50 madness by citing the Bog:

And let's talk about "Mister 50." Can you believe that crap? Mister 50 ain't had more than 30 points in one game yet, but he's Mister 50. I'm not paying attention to a proclaimed Mister 50. If he was Mister 50, why did he lose to a one-armed man? Tell that to Mister 50. If he ain't scoring 29 points a game, he can't talk to me. I'm Mister 29...Forget that, I don't need to be Mister 29. I'm Agent Zero, son.

"Torn" by LeToya Luckett is Mister 50's favorite song. "Torn in between the two," that's how he was looking when I beat him with one hand.

All in all, it's a nice blog entry. He's back in his rhythm. And thanks to NBA.com for the link over here. Read the whole thing, but lemme include one more quote:

In Chicago the other day I was in my hotel and halfway asleep and somebody came to my room and gave me 10 boxes with about 400 posters in them and wrote me a note that said, "I pay for my own tuition by selling autographs." He was actually honest, so I did it for him. It took me about an hour, hour and a half, but I got it done for him.

Honestly, I hope Chuck Klosterman reads this and e-mails me, so we can discuss. Because, like I said, it's an issue I think about all the time. Is Gilbert Arenas weird, or is he exceedingly normal, which just makes him seem weird based on his surroundings? I still can't exactly figure it out, but that last graf, that's not normal. It just isn't. Even among normal people. Normal people would say, "I'm halfway asleep, I don't know you, I'm not gona spend 90 minutes autographing your swag for your tuition payments." Only saints would gladly do it, and then blog about it. Well, saints, or people who are a little different, people who blog wearing fedoras, or whatever kind of hat that is.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 28, 2007; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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