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Gil's Training Day

(Toni L. Sandys)

11:22: So at 10:49, Gilbert emerged from the VC on his very red bike, wearing large headphones and no helmet and hugging a few girls on the east side of 7th Street. Then it was off, down the sidewalks of Chinatown, through red lights, into the middle of the street and over to the west side. It was surely nothing a bike messenger wouldn't do in his sleep, but then again, most bike messengers aren't about to get max contracts.

I drove the company car; photographer Jonathan Newton rode in the passenger seat with much equipment. We followed Gil and strength and conditioning coach Drew Cleary south to Pennsylvania Avenue, then west. We all stopped at 9th Street. Gil waved. People strolled by. No one seemed much concerned with his presence. Over Pennsylvania we all went; Drew and Gil crossed to the south side, slowly cruising past the Reagan Building and the Old Post Office, amiably chatting at times.

South on 15th Street, past the Secret Service. East on Constitution, past the tourists, past the Washington Monument, past the White House. Gil gave us hand signals, which was helpful. Then he suddenly darted into the road, and I had to check up for a second. "You killed Gilbert Arenas!" Newton said, laughing. That would have been a great blog item. Anyhow, approaching the Kennedy Center we turned off; Gil and Drew were headed for Rock Creek Park, which is definitely the place bicycle-riding-athlete-chasing paparazzi go to die. Anyhow, here's the grand summary of what the event looked like: a dude in headphones riding his bike.

10:28: Uh, check that. Instead, Gilbert decided to do a 45-minute press conference, about his knee, the Wizards, the fact that the rest of the East was scared of them, the fact that Brendan and Etan are now friends, the fact that Eddie Jordan went down to NC to make nice with Brendan, the fact that he has a knee scar from playing frisbee as a kid that's bigger than his knee surgery scar, the fact that he believes his knee to be 100 percent and that he won't wear a brace because he doesn't want anyone to remember which knee was hurt, and the fact that he plans to use the knee to ask out of some unpleasant preseason drills. But he said he wants to play as much as possible in the preseason.

Oh, he also went on another speech about leadership, in which he emphasized that age is the determining factor. He said he was never the leader of his high school team because there was a backup guard who was older than he was. He said he tried to tell DeShawn Stevenson what to do last year, and DeShawn ignored him, because he (DeShawn) was older. He said LeBron and Wade aren't really leaders of their teams, because they're so young. Someone asked at what age he could actually be a leader. "Um, 27?" he said. "How's that sound?"

Oh, and there was this line about Nick Young's defense: "he couldn't stick to that wall over there." But Gil was effusive about Young's scoring, calling him "microwave," and saying that the minute he steps on the court he'll be better than Jarvis Hayes was.

Also, G-Wiz is strolling the streets. I so want to live blog G-Wiz's day.

9:42: We're getting ready for the bike ride. It's supposed to take about an hour. If you see a dude on a mountain bike cruising down Constitution Avenue wearing Gil Zeros within the next few minutes, take a closer look. Meanwhile, I'm live blogging this while driving our photographer's Ford Focus so he can lean out the windows taking pictures. If we die chasing a quirky NBA superstar on a mountain bike around the Kennedy Center, tell my family I love them.

9:33: He just took 143 NBA three-pointers. He made 100. It took nine minutes. I'm exhausted."That rim's broken," he said. "Usually I make all of 'em."

9:21: Gil: "Make sure y'all read my blog at 12 o'clock. Some good stuff on it."

Lindsay Czarniak asks if he blogs from home. "I have a guy at the NBA," Gil says. "His name is Dave. I talk, he types."

9:20: "Don't drink tonic water," Gil's advising us. "It's nasty." He's drinking tonic water mixed with Vitamin Water and some sort of supplement powder.

9:09: Has anyone ever tried to live-blog shooting drills before? It goes something like this: make, miss, make make, make, make, miss, make, miss. Ok, now free throws! What I really want to see is Dave Hopla shooting.

Gilbert is holding an impromptu workout in front of about a dozen local media superstars at the Verizon Center. We're going to follow Gilbert around and watch his rehab routine. Assistant coach/shooting genius Dave Hopla and strength and conditioning coach Drew Cleary are also involved. We've been promised a bike ride up 16th Street and some laps at a local high school track. Really. Check back often.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 28, 2007; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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