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Gilbert chases wackiness and Twitter

So the new thing now is that "Gilbert Arenas" is somehow failing, and that "Agent Zero," represented as a Lil Penny-esque bobblehead in the above video from Gil's Web site, needs to return to save the day.

"Man, you're just gonna disrespect your boss after I made you a superstar, boy?" Agent Zero asks Gilbert in the video. "You're just lame without Agent Zero, you understand me? Regular Gilbert is about as entertaining as a plant....Need I remind you that it was I, Agent Zero, who was hitting all those game-winning shots?"

And so on. I don't know about all that, but at least one therapist somewhere in the D.C. area better be making a killing off this stuff. Also, it sure is tough to capture the past, isn't it?

Gilbert has also promised to start Tweeting, provided he can get a million followers. I mean, Shaq has 2.5 million followers and Dwight Howard has 1.2 million, so it's possible. Gilbert, on the other hand, has about a thousand as I type. Some work to be done. (Sign up here, @Gilbertarenas.)

(Gilbert, of course, put out this challenge through the Twitter account of JaVale McGee, who has about 2,000 followers. Interesting strategy. Gil confirmed this challenge via The Wash Times's Mike Jones.)

Anyhow, with the return of Agent Zero (also analyzed at Bullets Forever), let's yet again offer a brief history of this persona.

Oct. 4, 2006:
"Ooooh, I like that, I like that," Arenas said, when I first dropped the Wizznutzz creation on him. He repeated "I like that" several times. But he said he already planned to be "The Stealth," a nickname that came from some "military dude" he was working out with in San Francisco. Also worth noting: he was already weird and very good at basketball well before this nickname arrived.

Oct. 19, 2006: In his first blog post, Gilbert discusses the nickname in reference to his new shoe. "They're the Gil Zeros. I had a thousand names for them. I think the new name is Agent Zero. Oh that's hot. Whoever made that 'Agent Zero' up gets a percentage."

At this point, then, the Gilbert/Zero personality dichotomy has not yet coalesced.

Nov. 18, 2006: Gilbert pays for tens of thousands of Agent 0 t-shirts to be distributed at Verizon Center. It's starting.

Dec. 15, 2006: City Paper does an entire piece on the nickname and its creator, James Morris. To quote:

Morris coined "Agent Zero" in April while writing about Arenas for Wizznutzz, a surrealistic blog that's been mixing sports fantasy and facts, usually with some tie-in to the local NBA franchise, since 2002. He titled that post "New Incites Revealed into manic brain of AGENT ZERO!!!!" (Proper spelling and grammar are as optional as lucidity on Wizznutzz.)

The momentous piece delved into Arenas' life after basketball and pondered the fabulousness of a Werner Herzog documentary on the Wizards star. Thing is, such a project will never happen because of a feud between Arenas and Herzog:

"Gilbert doesnt talk to Werner anymore cuz of the time they were playing Gauntlet 4-player coop-mode at the PuttPutt Arcade with Kinski and Blatche," read the post, "and Werner's elf got killed, and he started bugging Gil by doing this grave voiceover to try and distract Gilbert from his game and then Werner crossed the line when he says 'Stupidity is the devil. Look in the eye of a chicken and you'll know. It's the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creature in this world.' Some snubs cant be unsnubbed."...

"I had used ['Agent Zero'] once and then stopped using it," says Morris. "But when the other bloggers were rolling with it, we decided we'd push it. It wasn't anything real serious, but we were like, 'Hey, this is ours! Let's build some momentum!' "

So there was some sort of weirdness from the beginning, anyhow.

Jan. 25, 2007: Gilbert begins referring to "Agent Zero" as sort of its own entity when discussing his election to the All-Star starting five. It's not clear if he thinks fans love Gilbert Arenas, or if they love Agent Zero. "A few years ago I was taking ballots from stores and filling them out myself," he said. "I probably filled out 50,000 of them and I had like 52,000 votes that year. So to be voted in by the fans is just unbelievable. I have fans now and that's what it is. It means there are some Agent Zero lovers out there."

Feb. 12, 2007: Gilbert announces his plan to bring 100 "Agent 0" jerseys to the All-Star game, and to wear one on the court. This, to my mind, signals the transformation of Agent Zero into his own distinct personality, with a customized, transformative jersey.

"It's worth it," Arenas said, when asked about incurring a fine for this stunt. "It's worth getting fined for, because all those people who got the Arenas Zero jerseys are going to feel special."

May 25, 2007: "I'm feeling 50 percent better," Gilbert writes on his blog. "I'm halfway there, halfway back to Agent Zero. I'm just 'Agent' right now."

Again, Agent Zero is posited as a transformational character, with distinct physical and emotional characteristics.

Aug. 3, 2007: Gilbert talks originality on his blog, in light of him stealing someone else's joke. And he's now talking about his alter ego coming up with nicknames for himself.

"If you think about it, nothing is original. Every joke has been retold at some point. What I did was recycle a new joke instead of waiting for it to get old. It was too funny not to. I mean, at least I picked a good joke, right? It's not like it was some lame, 'Yo momma' joke. Let's not forget, 'Hibachi' was stolen too. Brendan Haywood used to say it before me. But I recognize good stuff and make it popular. Now 'Hibachi' is patented by Agent Zero, son. I'm not a thief, I just reused it."

November, 2007: "As bad as I've started off I'm still better than 97 percent of the players that are playing right now," Arenas wrote on his blog. "I think I got a new name. It's still 'Agent Zero,' but instead of Agent Zero with the Hibachi as an arm, it's Agent Zero with Nacho as an arm because I've serving chips and dips."

April 16, 2009: Gilbert suggests that his alter ego will be retired, one of several times he made this suggestion during his injured days. No one is buying this in the least.

"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....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."

Sept. 28, 2009: Arenas tells reporters he's ditched the showmanship and the nicknames, and won't be joking around any more. He then commences the oddest few weeks of his career, refusing to look reporters in the eye, muttering out brief responses, and looking generally miserable.

"I mean, I'm 27 now. I'm not the entertainer anymore," Arenas said to start off this period. "I just want to play. I don't have a blog. I don't have a Twitter. When I was blogging and playing, all you guys focused on was my words. I'd just rather be focused, cut the gimmick out and play basketball."

Nov. 14, 2009: "Gilbert's not working out," he tells reporters, while announcing the return of Agent Zero less than three weeks after his retirement. "It ain't working if we lost five in a row. Coach told me he didn't want the angry man no more. So, he's back."

Nov. 17: Gilbert has a Twitter.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 18, 2009; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matt Bradley's bloody night, in pictures
Next: Welcome to America's first green pro sports team


Oh, happy day!

Posted by: Lindemann777 | November 18, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

and all is right with the world... ;)

Posted by: 3tripleiii | November 18, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Why can't Arenas just shut the hell up, show up to his job every night, and do his best to succeed. I guess like 90% of pro athletes (and NBA players in particular) he's an egomaniac with a self-image so far removed from reality that he must invent a fantasy world that glorifies and exalts him to the Nth degree.

Posted by: mr_bill_10 | November 18, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

He has always been Agent Zero.... Zero production this year... Zero wins in the last 5 games and Zero Return on Investment for the Wizards :) I have actually been watching the games on TV.. since there is nothig esle on and he is part of the problem on this team. We have too many shooters and not enough leaders and role players. know your role and do it well adn this team will flourish. How many more times am I going to see gil with the ball, driving to the lane then lose the ball on the way up then flop like he got hacked ?? Honestly, they are a better team without him... yeah, I said it. haywood, Caron and Jamison make that team tic because these guys know their role and excel at it!

Posted by: rvanags | November 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse


HIBACHI is back!!

Posted by: Mtortora | November 18, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

That'll turn them around. Who cares anymore? They stink.

Posted by: ridgely1 | November 18, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

as ineffectual & mediocre, as Gil has looked in his return to the court, you'd think he'd not be so out there, in not keeping things zipped! hehehehe

Posted by: Max231 | November 18, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Man, forget this stuff. Everyone knew there was no way Angry Gil would last much longer than it did anyway. I wanna get the latest dish on the Baldies' Beef. Did TK come back strong this morning? C'mon DS, we turn to you for this info!

Posted by: BMoreChil | November 18, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert, what have you won in the NBA?
1 playoff series.

Do you want to be remembered as a great player? Or a media man?

You asked for franchise player $, and dumb management gave it to you. We both must agree that its a poor ROI. Unlike the real NBA franchise players, you do not pack the house. Nor do you lead otherwise margeinal teams to wins and playoff wins.

Then what's the point? As of 11/18/09, u r a rich man's Marbury and Rod Strickland - both lost alot of games and seasons running teams - just like u do.

And learn how to shoot. Scoring 20 ppg on 25 shots pg is not a good thing. And I'll always remember u though - for chocking at the FT line when LeBron said hello to you.

Posted by: kedavis | November 18, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Wait, which one was he when Lebron whispered in his ear before those free throws? He should probably pick the opposite of that, no?

Cavs > Wiz.



Posted by: popopo | November 18, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I like Gil, he needs to be himself. People call him an “ego maniac”, but you can tell he is just genuinely a strange guy. With many pro-athletes it’s an act, or the money gets to their head. Not with Arenas. There are stories of him acting this way during his freshman year at Arizona, so it has nothing to do with the money or “ego”, Richard Jefferson has talked about what a clown he was. Just let the man be himself and stop all the hating. The Wiz should turn it around, I see them finishing around 40 wins or so.

Anyways, this is OV’s city now anyways, so Gil should just sit back, relax and be himself, because a hockey player is the most popular athlete in town.

Posted by: cj658 | November 18, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Ask yourself-

How miserable your own life if this, something that gives so many people so much joy, bothers you so much?

The franchise was lifeless for decades until he walked in the door. So maybe he doesn't lead us to a title. Guess what, neither did the Price brothers, CWeb, Googs, Ledell, or Gheorghe. But Gilbert is more fun than all of them put together. We might always stink, but at least Gilbert makes us relevant.

Posted by: bryc3 | November 18, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Let's just hope that this doesn't give Clinton Portis ideas...

That said, nice to see Agent Zero back!

Posted by: js_edit | November 18, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Agent Zero Defense. That is why this team will not be a contender with him as the centerpiece. Watching him play perimeter defense is unbearable.

Simple things like moving his feet on defense have been thrown out the window. Hasn't looked confident all year. Some of those drives at the end of the Pistons games were pathetic. Start Foye, Miller, Butler, Jamison, Haywood.

Posted by: saltine182 | November 18, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Someone said that Gil makes it fun.

I guess that's what DC sports has come to.
Last place back to back 100 MLB team.

Last place dysfunctional, high spending national Palin-like joke of an NFL team.
With a RB that dressed like a clown for entertainment.

And a $100 mill so-called best player on the NBA team more known for media and Twitter than for actually winning or playing well.

Why not change the names to the PT Barnums?
But if you cannot win, or compete, entertain the crowd of fans.

Posted by: kedavis | November 18, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse


HIBACHI is back!!

Posted by: Mtortora

And he sucks!

Posted by: hessone | November 18, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

How bout them Caps?

Posted by: hessone | November 18, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Wizards and Cavs right now...what an amazing rivalry this is! Cleveland consistently and repeatedly destroying Washington makes for really, really rivalrous basketball. Just wishing simply makes it so! Amazing.

Posted by: hithere1 | November 18, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Wizards and Cavs right now...what an amazing rivalry this is! Cleveland consistently and repeatedly destroying Washington makes for really, really rivalrous basketball. Just wishing simply makes it so! Amazing.

Posted by: hithere1 | November 18, 2009 7:56 PM

The crow tastes...delicious! Awesome win tonight! Maybe...there really is a rivalry?

Posted by: hithere1 | November 18, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you should have watched the entire game. Lebron got T'd up and hurt his wrist trying to dunk it real hard. I'm sure it will be a Sportscenter Top Play because Lebron dunked. I'm also sure that those of you talking about how terrible this team is needs to give it until January. In a league where the Hawks can have the best record in the East, you know there's a lot to tease out still. Remember a few years ago when you loved watching this team play? It's coming back...

Posted by: emc7x | November 18, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

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