Gilbert Discusses His Mother
It'd be hard to think of a 30-hour span that more completely encapsulates D.C.'s Arenas Era than the one we just saw.
There was pop-culture penetration, as Gilbert and his nicknames showed up on Jeopardy.
There was massive on-court disappointment, with Brendan Haywood's wrist situation escalating and Antawn Jamison going down with a knee injury. When you think of Wizards basketball recently, you think of players rolling around the floor while grimacing.
There was off-the-court whimsy, with Nick Young doing a WaPo.com discussion in which he revealed that his biggest worry about moving to D.C. was where he would buy shoes, that he enjoyed last winter because for once he could drink hot cocoa at Christmas time, that Gilbert Arenas actually changed the locks on the house where Nick was living, that he "might go with the full-scale Dr. J afro, like the older dudes, the older cats, blow dry it out, but I'm not sure," and that the Wizards' locker room was more fun than he expected from the NBA. Despite the professionalism of Jamison and Butler, when you think of the Arenas Era, that locker room is also what you think of.
And then, capping it off, there was this morning's 6,000-word blog entry from Gilbert, titled "Let's Talk About Family," and if a pro athlete has written a more raw exploration of his or her family background, I'd be curious to see it. Gilbert talks about being abandoned by his mother, being raised by his father, deciding to stay distant from his relatives, deciding not to explore his relationship with his mother until after his career, and the anger and disappointment all this has caused. But he does it with the humor and honesty that you also associate with the Arenas-Era Wizards, even on a day when their season looks like it might be disintegrating before it even started. One passage:
So when I grew up, I never really asked [about his mom]. I was just bad. I put all my anger out by causing trouble. I didn't get in trouble trouble like stealing and all that. I did stupid, funny stuff like Dennis the Menace trouble like you're living in an apartment building and you break all the tops off the automatic sprinklers on the lawns so when the sprinklers come on, they just shoot straight up into the air like waterfalls. That was my kind of stuff. You know, throwing dye into the pool and making it red or green, that was my kind of stuff.
Once I started playing basketball I remember sitting at home one day and looking in the mirror with a basketball resting on my head and I made a promise to God. The first thing I said was, "If you ever let me see my mother, I swear I won't ask her anything, all I want to do is see her. I just want to meet her. I just want to be a kid who gets to meet his mother. I won't ask no questions, I won't think about it, I'll let it go right there." The second thing was, "If you ever get me to the NBA, I'll never do drugs or anything like that."
Both of them came true.
There's much more where that came from, and it's kind of legitimately touching. Of course, by the end, Gilbert is talking about how this Wizards team could be a championship contender if everyone got healthy. And that speech, coming the morning after the Haywood and Jamison news is sadly also a major part of the Arenas Era.
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