Gilbert On Being Called Uncoachable
You'll read much in the local media today and tomorrow about Gilbert Arenas's speech to some younger teammates this week about how the fun and games have to end.
"There's gonna be no young group, there's gonna be no old group, there's gonna be no playing around; it's gonna be serious," Andray Blatche said. "[Arenas] said next year's gonna be totally different, no playing around. Gil surprised me with it. He surprised me."
Michael Lee will have more on this later, and part of Gilbert's explanation was that you can't be screwing around when you're losing, that the humor leaks away if you're not on top. But in a separate issue, he's also noticed what people have said about him during the Wiz's recent coaching search: that the biggest issue for the new coach will be dealing with Arenas and his large personality.
Twice in the last two days, he has told reporters that his "personality" is really "smoke and mirrors" constructed for the media and the public, but that it doesn't reflect his real character. And he wants people to know that.
"See, I have fun with it, but for some reason it get twisted a lot, and that's the reason I stopped blogging," he said. "It's like, I'm getting killed by own words. So people are killing my character. Like, you can kill me just for not playing for the last two years. I understand that. I'm disappointed I'm not playing. But me as my "Gilbert Arenas," you're killing me for that person, and I'm not that person. You know, I don't go out, I don't club, I don't get in trouble, I don't fight. I just go play basketball and go home."
But, I pointed out, he seemed to enjoy his periodic "did he really say that?" moments, the crowds of reporters around his locker, the best-of Gilbertology collections.
"Yeah, because it was entertaining," he said. "It was entertaining for everyone. But then when you start looking at papers and it says, 'Oh, the new coach is gonna have to get him under control.' I'm like, under control? 'He's uncoachable.' I'm like, are we talking about the same person? I don't talk back to coaches or nothing. So we'll see."
Why, then did this all start, the Smoke and Mirrors "Gilbert Arenas" personality?
"Ok, it started the year I got snubbed [for the All-Star game]," he said. "See, before that I never said anything, never talked trash. There was no predictions out there. And then once I got snubbed, I felt if I talked a little trash, people would actually hear it and see it. And then it started working, so I kept going with it. You know, I was averaging 29, 6 and 5, and we were like 6th in the league in the playoffs, and two players got picked who wasn't even in the playoff hunt.
"And I figured, since I said I was the East Coast Assassin, everybody started paying attention--like, 'oh yeah, he's gotten better.' Wait a minute, I'm doing the same thing before I made that prediction. And then from there...here came the mouth."
Someone asked him about his "getting back" at Flip Saunders from a few years back, which I had jokingly labeled a vendetta.
"See, that was just me at the time being me," Arenas said. "It was nothing personal. It was just 'Hey, we've got them one more time, they're one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, hey.' I don't have vendettas. It was just at the time. I don't hate anybody."
More from Gilbert:
* He said he had invited Andray Blatche and Nick Young to work out with him this summer, but that "to be honest, I'm not gonna believe that until it happens."
* He said his offseason starts on Monday, first with the post game and Mikan drills, then with mid-range jump shots, finally with track work and long-distance shooting later in the summer. He also said he would mimic Dwyane Wade and do some football-style drills. Someone asked if this meant he'd take a trip to Redskins Park.
"I mean, if they'll have me," he said. "But I don't want to get hit. In this game, that's a foul."
* He was asked to play GM if the Wiz get the top draft pick; "Of course you know who to draft, you get [Blake] Griffin," he said. "If you get two or three, I actually don't know who's out there. All you hear is Griffin. Like he's one, two AND three."
* And he was asked about sitting out after playing twice this spring; "I decided after those two games I played, let's just think about next season," he said. "I'm getting killed this season anyway, might as well just add to it. Somebody has to be smart here and focus on what's to come. It's a five-year investment, not a one-year."
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