Gilbert's Great Shoe Giveaway
I received late-breaking news yesterday that Gilbert Arenas was possibly going to Anacostia High to give away hundreds of pairs of Gil Zeros. Turns out he had never definitively committed to the event, although his shoes had. But I went, just in case he might show up.
There was a photo display from the event on B4 of my Post today. The text:
FROM WIZARDS STAR, SHOES FOR STUDENTS
About 50 Anacostia Senior High School students received Gil Zero Low sneakers yesterday from Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas. An additional 450 students at the school will receive sneakers this week. Arenas plans to give away 500 more pairs at schools across the District.
It was, as you might have expected, an odd event. I was told to be there at 2. The students began filing into the auditorium around then. Marion Barry showed up around 2:30. There were about 80 adidas boxes on a table at the front of the room. At around 2:45, they showed a video about Gilbert and his charitable works. The emcee then explained why people call Gilbert "Agent Zero." I was hoping he would say something like this: "Some deranged bloggers came up with this bizarre nickname that struck a national chord." Instead, he said it was because people used to tell Gil that he'd be a zero. The emcee also said Gilbert was the last man on the bench when he arrived in the NBA. Is that true? I can't find game logs from his rookie season right now.
Regardless, the message was one of proving people wrong.
"That's what you all have to do," the emcee told the kids. "That's what he did."
Shortly thereafter, the mayor, Adrian Fenty, arrived. Oh, and DJ Flexx was there. And also Michael Ruffin's wife, who is just everywhere, especially where community service is involved. I promised her that we'd discuss playoff beards in the near future. Marion Barry led the kids in chants of "Stop the Violence [ pause] Increase the Peace." He was presented with an Anacostia High throwback jersey, and made a basketball shooting motion several times. Fenty then talked about the love and hope he had for all the students, and then he talked about school governance issues, and also got a throwback jersey. The Wiz and Gilbert were presented with various honors and plaques and whatnot for their generosity.
I had to leave to get to RFK. In the lobby, Vitamin Water people had appeared, and were handing out bottles of their beverage. Like I said, it was all a bit odd. But I'm sure the kids loved the shoes. And for kids who didn't fit into the shoe sizes that were available, there were authentic Gilbert jerseys.
Anyhow, I'm worried that Gilbert will never speak to the world again, other than via his blog. I'm told that some TV people spotted him in the garage underneath the Verizon Center after practice today, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to interview him while he sat in the driver's seat of his car. Someone start the betting pool on who lands the first expansive post-injury Gil interview. I'll take either Mike Wise or some 13-year-old video-game kid in Topeka with a MySpace page.
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