Kwame Brown on Gilbert and D.C. Fans
It was quite an occasion for former D.C. stars Saturday night at Verizon. Richard Hamilton. Rasheed Wallace. Allen Iverson. Kwame Brown. Gilbert Arenas.
Ha, just kidding Gil! Anyhow, Awvee Storey was also there, having played the past season in China and now back in New Jersey. I asked him whether he wrestled any of his teammates in China, and he said no, but he did confirm that he and Gilbert had locker room battles. "Oh man, me and that dude used to go at each other," Storey said.
(Storey also had his adorable five-month old daughter with him, asleep in his arms: "Awwww," Gilbert said, when he saw the pair. "She's sleeping now, she'll be up all night. I love 'em and hate 'em at that age.")
As for Kwame, as usual, he was booed by the D.C. fans during intros. And later, he and Gilbert wound up co-starring in the game's crucial play, with the Pistons' big man providing the defense on Gilbert's final, off-target, potential game-winning shot. Before all that happened, though, I chatted with Kwame for a few minutes about his ex-teammate, his ex-team and his ex-city. He's the first person, in my life, I've heard describe D.C. as a "tough, hard-nosed city."
Bog: What was your relationship like with Gilbert?
Kwame Brown: Just like anybody, we had our ups and downs, but most of the time I'm cool with anybody. We had our spat but I think the media made it more than what it was. Gilbert would probably tell you the same thing; right now, we don't have no problems.
Bog: Do you follow his career still?
KB: He's been hurt, what, two years now? And when he did play he was a little sore, but when I was here he worked so hard. Probably his problem is he's working too hard. I mean, Gilbert is a helluva worker, he's gonna work hard, so if he's healthy then he's gonna play. If he's hurt, he's really hurt.
Bog: Why do you think fans love him so much?
KB: Because of that reason--he's gonna go out, he's gonna play hard, he's gonna make the difficult shots, he's gonna be consistent every night. He's one of those special player's that's gonna come out and play hard every night.
Bog: Are there other guys on this team you still do keep in touch with?
KB: Pretty much Etan Thomas is the only guy I talk to. That's one of my close friends. I took him out to dinner when he came to Detroit. Me and him have always been cool and are always gonna stay cool.
Bog: Why did you guys have such a good relationship?
KB: Because me and him were going through the same kind of stuff with Doug [Collins] at the same time, so we just kind of connected and bonded. I don't know, he saw what other people don't see about me, you know what I'm saying? So we've just always been cool. He got hurt, and I called him and said I'm sorry about his injury. When he had his kid I called him and congratulated him. That's kind of how we do, we just keep in touch like that.
Bog: Is it still interesting at all to you when you come back here? The relationship with the fans or anything like that?
KB: What relationship with the fans? (Laughing.)
Bog: I mean, you must have had some friends who were fans at some point.
KB: Yeah, I had a lot of friends who were fans. I've still got some fans who I'm cool with and they still seek me out, like "What's up, Kwam," but these fans here, I have no personal problem with them. You know what I'm saying? I think their problem with me was the level I got picked. You know, if I was the number 40th pick, I'd guess I would have never had a problem.
Bog: So do you like coming back here, or is jut like going to another city?
KB: No, I enjoy the city still. It's a great city to play in, it's a great city to be in. I mean, they have great fans if they're on your side. They're gonna come out and cheer you every night, no matter win or lose. So it is what it is.
Bog: Ok. Would you ever live here again?
KB: I lived in Virginia. I love Virginia....It's quiet, it's peaceful. I have no problem with Virginia or the city....I'm from Georgia, I definitely have ties in Georgia, but I never had a problem when I was here in this city.
Bog: What about the rest of the guys on this team, when you see them today is it anything different than playing another team?
KB: Nah. I mean, that's so many years removed. It's just another game, I'm just playing against someone I'm competing with.
Bog: Did you know Gilbert was going to be a star when he got here?
KB: I don't think anybody knew that. When he first came, I think some of the distractions he had kept people from believing that, but his work ethic is what got him where he is. He's always been an unbelievable talent, but I think some of the distractions kept people from thinking that he was going to be a star, but he kept working.
Bog: What was your favorite thing about the city?
KB: I guess my favorite thing about D.C. was just the people. Most of the people are blue-collar people, they're very passionate, very aggressive. We call it Chocolate City, the majority of people are black, and it's just a city that if they get behind you. It's a real tough, hard-nosed city. That's the kind of things I remember about D.C.
Bog: That's interesting because I don't think a lot of people would...I think a lot of people kind of think the opposite, because there's so many political people and so many government people.
KB: Those are the people that stay in their realm of what they do. But get outside that box and you'll see another side of it.
Bog: Did you have any favorite restaurants?
KB: I used to go to Old Ebbitt Grill, and they tore down the fish joint, McCormick & Schmick's.
Bog: Did you ever go to Ben's?
KB: Ben's what?
Bog: Ben's Chili Bowl.
KB: No, I don't know if that was here when I was here.
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