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Gilbert Buys Obama Chair

For years, Wizards staffers have paraded a museum's worth of basketball memorabilia through the Verizon Center in pursuit of signatures for Gilbert Arenas's collection. Current jerseys. Replica jerseys. Paintings. Basketballs. All items that PR staffers get autographed by visiting players and dignitaries, and then deliver to Gilbert. Dude is a memorabilia hound. Remember this?

[Arenas] has a five-and-a-half-foot-tall safe in his basement full of jerseys of great NBA players past and present. They're all signed, too. Each of them is in a plastic bag, each numbered and cataloged. Tracy McGrady? Got him. Home and away. Hedo Turkoglu? Got him, too. There are so many jerseys packed into this safe that the plastic packages tumble out when he opens it, like a sight gag in a sitcom. There must be a thousand. It is a collection he started only a year ago. Now they come in two, three, five a day.

And that was three years ago, before Gilbert got his Barack Obama hand tattoo and hung his little Obama photo above his locker. So if there was any athlete who'd pay $25,000 for an autographed Barack Obama chair, the one the President sat in during his visit to the Verizon Center, Gilbert would be the logical choice. It happened today, as part of a fundraiser for Wizards Care, the team's charity arm. "As the online auction was about to be announced, Arenas checked in with a bid that exceeded Washington's goal for the item," read the team's press release.

"When Gilbert found out about this unique opportunity to own a piece of history, he stepped up with a tremendous bid," Wiz VP of Community Relations Judy Holland said. "Everybody is a winner because of Gilbert's generosity."

Now the only question is whether he can fit an autographed chair into a plastic package.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 15, 2009; 7:34 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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This is the same Gilbert who didn't vote for Obama, correct? Just checking...

Posted by: Barno1 | July 15, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert is a great guy and cracks me up. But come on this dude needs to be smart...wasting 25k on a crap chair like that? Come on Gilbert you're like one injury from ending a career. Be smart with your money.

Posted by: insanity999 | July 15, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a hint as to what Dick Cheney kept in his man-sized safe?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | July 16, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

He could have given $25,000 to charity and received nothing. He got a chair signed by the President to go with it. Good for him.

Posted by: sitruc | July 16, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@ Insanity999:

If I remember correctly, Gilbert signed a contract for $111,000,000 over 6 years. Most of which will be guaranteed to him whether he plays another game or not.

That $25,000 chair represents 0.00023% of his contract.

To put it another way, say you earn $75,000 a year for 6 years. You'll have $450,000. Using the same ratio above, it is the equivalent of spending $101.25 on the chair.

Wow. Gilbert earns funny money. Good for you, Agent Zero. He should walk around with a monocle and top-hat...

Posted by: Mustachio | July 16, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Arenas has worn out his welcome. He's the Wizards Jaromir Jagr. They will regret the extension they signed him to for years.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 16, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

if it is just a chair, then it's not that awesome. seems like a weird thing to sign. if it is the chair the prez sat in at the game then it is cool

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 16, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, yeah, it was the chair Obama sat in during his visit to the arena. My fault for vagueness.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | July 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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