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Gilbert Arenas Says He's Now a Leader

There are plenty of things to love about the Washington Times's extensive interviews with Gilbert Arenas, but in light of Jason Campbell's comments this week about his vocal (if unseen) leadership, I thought Gilbert on being a leader was one of the real highlights. Let's quote:

[Flip] Saunders demands a lot of his point guards and sees them as an extension of him on the floor. And speaking of leadership, Arenas is aware that the perception of him is that he's not a team leader. But he says that's not because he isn't capable of leading or doesn't want to lead. Quite the contrary. He is taking seriously the task at hand.

"Flip asked me to lead this team and I'm gonna be his leader," Arenas said. "The last coach didn't want me to be his leader, so I didn't want to be."

"The last coach," eh? Anyhow it seems like it might be worth flashing back, oh, two and a half years, when Gilbert had this to say on the leadership issue.

"I'm a goof. C'mon, everyone knows that," Arenas said. "I look at my elders as the leaders. I don't want nobody looking at me. How can I tell somebody 'Don't shoot that shot' when I'm out there chunking 'em?"

But you see, the last coach told him to say that, or something.

See, the thing about Gilbert quotes is they have to be sort of experienced as performance art, rather than actually ingested as truth. They work as entertainment, but they're dodgier as historical records. Like, this part, from the actual Times story:

"If you have a kid that loves basketball, that eats, sleeps, drinks and thinks basketball and all he knows is basketball and he gets hurt and he's your franchise player, you need to hold him back from himself," Arenas said. "If I'm saying I feel good and you know it's supposed to take six months, instead of letting me at four months run....they should have held me back. Rather than saying, 'Let's let this guy do what he wants and use him to sell tickets' - sometimes you have to protect players from themselves. I don't feel like I got that type of protection."

Damning. So just for fun, let's go back to some dialog that Gilbert posted on his own blog, between him and the team doctor, concerning one of his comebacks.

Doctor: "Yeah, well, you know, let's give this thing another week or so and you know, we'll check you back then?"

Gilbert: "Huh? Another week?! I was planning on playing today. My mind, my mental, is ready for right now!"

Doctor: "I don't think we should rush into this."

Gilbert: "Trust me, I'm mentally ready right now."

Doctor: "I don't think you're ready. We need to test it one more week."

Gilbert: "What's one more week going to do? I don't grow facial hair in a week! Nothing happens in a week. My knee isn't going to get that much stronger in a week. A week!"

Doctor: "There's going to be six games in nine days, I don't want that pounding to hurt you."

Gilbert: "Come on, this is not what I want to hear right now."

Can't believe the team rushed him back on the court like that. What else did I love about the interview? Maybe when he insinuated that some of his younger teammates weren't the sharpest daggers in the NBA.

"The offense we used to run was a thinking man's offense, and we had a lot of young players, so it didn't work...." he said, under the apparent assumption that young players aren't great at thinking. "And we've got all these young players on the team, and your older guys in the offense get hurt, now you can't play young players like Nick and Andray and expect them to do great in that scheme. You see they have obvious talent, but they can't remember all the plays. Your I.Q. had to be great to understand the offense."

I mean, yeah.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 16, 2009; 9:24 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Damn. Classic Dan, classic.

Posted by: truthaboutit | September 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

If you concede that "the thing about Gilbert quotes is they have to be sort of experienced as performance art, rather than actually ingested as truth. They work as entertainment, but they're dodgier as historical records" then what is the point of illustrating this time and again? Yes, he contradicts himself from time to time, we know this...what's your point?

Thumbs down on this blog entry Steinz.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

He's backkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!

Gilbert is back and in full force. I could not wait to hear what he had to say. Great Wash Times article. I don't think he called his players dumb though. I think he just meant, that they were babies in the NBA and didn't have the experience needed to pick up the system quickly and hell from the way the Rooks played under Eddie(remember he was fired) Gil is right in his assessment. There were times they did look completely and utterly loss.

Posted by: ivyleague | September 16, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@ Barno1

Because it's fun to call out the absurdities of athletes, especially when Gilbert is taking his own quotes so seriously.

Posted by: truthaboutit | September 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Wait, what evidence do we have that Gilbert takes himself seriously?

Posted by: Hobes | September 16, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

@ Hobes ... good point.

Posted by: truthaboutit | September 16, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

There are others besides the team management and physicians who owe Gilbert an apology for not holding him back. Me for one.

Gilbert, I humbly and deeply apologize because I did not personally do more to hold you back. Maybe I could have set up a website called, "Gilbert, Don't Do It!", and linked to your blog, and maybe you would have followed the link back and gotten the message. I mean, I knew for a fact that you were making a mistake by rushing back, and I did nothing to stop you! And, though I haven't played a lick of basketball since 1982, I've also known since the days of Michael Jordan that training with Tim Grover over the summery is a good way for a pro basketball player to get better and to become less injury prone. Yet I didn't tell you that either! I'm sorry Gil, deeply sorry.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | September 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Um, Gilbert's not just blaming the doctor.

"he gets hurt and he's your franchise player, you need to hold him back from himself"

I think what he's asking for another check and balance. If the doctor's against and Arenas if for playing, doesn't his opinion winning out show that the organization might have done more to hold him back?

Posted by: WorstSeat | September 18, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Yes the organization should have tried harder to hold him back. Also the fans. And me. I'm sorry, Gilbert, I really am.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | September 18, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

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