A Tattoo You Can Believe In

"Gilbert's bored," Etan Thomas said, shaking his head, as he got prepared for Saturday's eventual debacle against the Orlando Magic.

As usual, Gilbert Arenas was holding court and cracking jokes with his teammates before the game, so I assumed that Thomas was talking about Arenas doing his nightly comedy routine. Shortly thereafter, it became clear that Thomas was talking about something else entirely.

Arenas walked by Thomas and Thomas stopped him to look at Arenas's hand. Then Thomas licked his thumb and rubbed Arenas's hand trying to smear off the ink. When the ink remained, Thomas chuckled, shook his head some more, and walked away.

I walked up to Arenas to see what got Thomas so worked up and looked in amazement. Arenas has decided to show his permanent support of President-elect Barack Obama with a tattoo. Arenas had the words "Change We Believe In" tattooed onto the fingers of his left hand in cursive writing. Then, Gilbert showed the outside of his pinky finger, which had "44" inked on it.


My left hand no longer looks like this. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Arenas shortened Obama's campaign slogan, "Change We Can Believe In," choosing not to add ink to his thumb. Arenas has "change" written on the outside of his index finger; "we" on the inside of his middle finger; "believe" on the inside of his ring finger; and "in" on the inside of his pinky and "44" on the outside of his pinky. In case you didn't already know, Obama will be the 44th POTUS.

Arenas said he went down to Miami to have his favorite tattoo artist stitch him up after the Wizards arrived in Orlando late Friday night. He didn't explain how he got there -- Miami is an hour flight or three-hour drive from Orlando -- and I was too shocked by the tattoo to ask a follow-up question. All that I could say was, "You've got a lot of free time, don't you?"

For a player who said he wasn't even going to vote just three weeks ago, Arenas changed his apolitical stance quickly -- and dramatically. Arenas said on Saturday that his previous comments about not voting because he was afraid of having higher taxes were "a joke that nobody got." He added that he always planned on voting for Obama but was waiting to find the right reasons.

"I wasn't going to sit there and wing it for no reason," Arenas said, "Like oh yeah, he's black so I'm voting [for him]. I could've said I was voting for [John] McCain because he's from Arizona and went to all the games."

Arenas said he went with Obama because he was impressed with his demeanor and temperament.

Arenas has gone all out for Obama, adding that he hired an artist last week to paint a mural with Obama's family on one side and Arenas's fiancee and children on another side of a wall in Arenas's house. "He united people," Arenas said of Obama. "By him winning, it showed the world that we're not as racist as people think we are. I think that's the beauty of [the election]. Not just because he's the first African American president. America is not as bad as people think we are."

Arenas once dubbed himself, "Black President," but said he had no problem conceding the title with a real black president now heading to Washington. He said he even plans on getting a Wizards jersey that reads "Obama 44" and will ask him to sign it if and when Obama decides to attend a game at Verizon Center. Arenas said there is even more reason to win a championship, "because if you win the championship, you go to the White House."

By Michael Lee |  November 9, 2008; 8:01 AM ET
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Comments

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Well, apparently EG didn't believe in change for the better, and stuck with more of the same by signing a gimpy guard to a max money contract when no other team could pay the same, and also signed a non defense playing, no low post game, jump shooting PF.

171 mil in contracts and what has that resulted in? More of the same.

BTW, I don't see how painting a silly mural of Obamanation with Gilby in his house is "going all out."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 9, 2008 9:03 AM

I just threw up in my mouth. Thanks Gilbert.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2008 10:25 AM

Okay, there is actually a good reason not to mix sports and politics.

Talented athlete with not much going on upstairs except some scary stupid .

I did find some signs of a thought surfacing in, "Arenas said on Saturday that his previous comments about not voting because he was afraid of having higher taxes were "a joke that nobody got." He added that he always planned on voting for Obama but was waiting to find the right reasons."

Other than that Gil matches up even with Palin intellectually.

Posted by: pdarroch | November 9, 2008 10:31 AM

"Arenas has gone all out for Obama.."

Too bad you can't say that about Gilbert for the Wizards, Mike. Must be nice to get paid all of that cash and have time to make jokes when your team is getting killed on the court.

The only story I want to hear about Gilbert Arenas is that he is rehabbing his you know what off.

Seriously.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 9, 2008 10:35 AM

I remember in the summer Gilbert saying, after resigning, that he wanted to win a championship, and go to the parade,then head to the White House with Obama. So when he said he was voting Rep. I figured he was joking or whatever it was....or just keeping it to himself. Hope he gets to meet him.

Posted by: washwiz | November 9, 2008 2:07 PM

No offense Mike, but this is not the time for this type of story. All this story is doing is giving fuel to the Gilbert haters and making the dude look selfish.

Though I am sure this was not your intent, I must admit this is how it is coming across. Like Ray said, if you are going to report something like this; let it be a time when the Wiz are on a 5 game winning streak vs. 5 game losing streak.

This was not the time for this after that type of loss they suffered last night.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 9, 2008 5:54 PM

Gil didn't play last night so I'm not even going to comment on this story. Let's talk Gil when he's on the way back or back. Til then , I really have no interest in anything he says or does unless it affects the team. It seems to me that we STILL have issues closing out on shooters. Orlando and the Knicks got wide open looks. CB seems to be the one running out and flailing late more often than any other player. Phil even mentioned him by name as one of the guys who frequently gets caught out of position. Can we just stick with man defense and see what happens? How is it that every other team in the league is able to stay with guys when they spot up? Why are we CONSISTENTLY poor at this? At some point when do we stop blaming the players and start blaming the (defensive or head) coach?
I can understand a team being porr at something and working on it. What I can't accept is a team being poor at it for 10-20 years even through different coaching staffs. I wish I had this info handy but I would be willing to wager that over the last 20 years, we're probably in the bottom 10 in 3 point fg defense....and probably bottom five over EJ's tenure.

If we can't beat 'em, join 'em. Start jacking up 3's Westhead/D'Antoni style. It can't turn out any worse than what's going on now.

Lastly, with the same characters in place this year besides BTH, it seems to me that what we are seeing is the effect Colossus/BTH had on this defense. We were 0-5 last year at this time also but I don't think we gave up as many points last year as we are this year.

Posted by: original_mark | November 9, 2008 6:41 PM

What a bunch of whiners. You guys talk like Gilbert works for you or something. Lighten up for goodness sakes.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | November 9, 2008 6:51 PM

We will go 0-6.. I hope that on Wednesday against the Jazz that we are at least competitive. By the way, is DeShawn Stevenson still on this team? (sarcastic)

Posted by: rachel216 | November 9, 2008 7:54 PM

Nothing wrong with the story Mike. We get stories on the other sports teams like this, what's wrong with the wizards?

Posted by: washwiz | November 9, 2008 9:06 PM

So far the Wizards are unvictorious. They have lost their starting center and their starting point guard to preseason injuries, their number 2 point guard is playing hurt, their number 2 center is coming off an inactive season after having had heart surgery.

Look on the bright side -- things can only get better!

Posted by: PostSubscriber | November 9, 2008 10:59 PM

It's official.

Clips of the East (ska Les BouleS, ska the Wiz) are officially the only winless team in the NBA.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/standings

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 9, 2008 11:29 PM

"Like Ray said, if you are going to report something like this; let it be a time when the Wiz are on a 5 game winning streak vs. 5 game losing streak.

This was not the time for this after that type of loss they suffered last night.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | November 9, 2008 5:54 PM "

Well, if you're from a paper where Bob Woodard works, that means you have to strike when the iron is hot with relevant news.....of course, unless you're Slick Willy and involved with Monica...or are a political crook with left leaning tendencies.

Therefore, Obama is obviously relevant news and Gilby being bored is trying to keep himself relevant.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 9, 2008 11:36 PM

How about Gil trying to pump up his teammates or giving some pointers to the youngsters? What is there to joke about? This story is relevant. It continues to show the self centered egotistical nature of a "star" player. Gilbert is just an immature millionaire who is admired for his childish behavior instead of his leadership.

SOunds like G. Bush to me...

Posted by: lk11 | November 10, 2008 7:09 AM

Well, well, well. It appears that BTH (aka Colossus) really WAS doing something besides just standing there for the Wizards. All of the BTH haters need to recognize. These quotes are from Deshawn, Ivan and Eddie.(3 guys who know a thing or two about this team)


"Not having him back there is probably the worst thing for this team right now -- no disrespect to anybody," guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "He helped me out a lot. He talked. All the little things that he [did]. It hurts."

"The team knew that Brendan Haywood's absence with a right wrist injury would pose problems -- especially on the defensive end, where Haywood protected the paint, covered mistakes and helped put his teammates in the proper spots on the court."

"We're a little bit smaller on the front line. We're a little bit non-physical on the front line," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said.

Posted by: original_mark | November 10, 2008 7:28 AM

Another interesting quote from a guy who undoubtedly wants to win...

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes, whether it's go get 20, 30 rebounds, whether it's put up the points or be a playmaker for the most part," Butler said. "But my blood pressure's building, and it's only so much longer I can wait. You don't want to take too much on yourself, but at the same time, you want the results."


Interesting in that he's waiting a while before he takes it on himself. I would have thought that he'd try to take it on himself immediately. I think Gil would have tried. Leadership takes many different forms. My point is that even though GA says that he's not a leader, his actions on the court in the past say otherwise.

All of the things CB mentioned are great but it's the defense that's killing us. Specifically, interior defense.

Looking at 82games stats, it's the C and PF positions that are killing us. Opposing centers and PF's are averaging a whopping 28 and 25 PER respectively. Those are first ballot hall of Fame levels. It could explain why Ayers feels compelled to double down. It's amazing to me that we are among the worst on defense both inside as well as outside. How is that even possible? You'd have to be standing around 10 feet from the basket not guarding the perimeter or paint to accomplish this. Apparently, BTH is more important to this team than anyone else. We have not yet adjusted to his absence. What exactly is Ayers doing during practice again?

Posted by: original_mark | November 10, 2008 7:47 AM

Is it time for a changing of the guard at PF?

Here's a AJ scouting report..

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/players/hollinger?playerId=385

Posted by: original_mark | November 10, 2008 7:52 AM

Like someone said, you guys complain like Gilbert works for you. So what if he's getting tats. Give some pointers to the youngsters...like that's a 24-hour job. Besides, it's already been reported in this blog that Gil has been spending time with some of the young players after practice.

Of course, Gil is bored. Won't you be if you've had only rehab to look forward for the past few months. I know I would be. It's not like he has to worry about AFLAC paying his bills :)

Posted by: tundey | November 10, 2008 8:23 AM

The Wizards are 0-5, look completely pathetic, and ruined the next 10 years of the franchise this past summer with the Arenas and Jamison contracts, and the Wizards "Insiders" have nothing better to write about? What a joke.

Posted by: ArlingtonHokie | November 10, 2008 10:05 AM

How does Arenas getting a tattoo or exercising his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to express a political opinion make him seem "selfish"? Really, I want to know.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2008 11:13 AM

So let me get this straight.

1)He doesn't vote because he doesn't want to have jury duty.

2)Makes a crack that he would vote for McCain because he was going to have to pay "20 or 60%" more in taxes if a democrat was elected.

3) Installs a $1million dollar pool in his backyard.

4) Makes his girlfriend propose to him because.

5) Calls himself "Black President"

Gilbert. You are just a basketball player, that's it. When you voice your uneducated opinion on any subject you come off as being not only stupid, but extremely selfish. Nobody with a brain cares what you think, you're just a guy with enough talent to get himself a pile of money because he plays a sport where he is a hero to little kids.

Just go play your video games and keep your mouth shut until you do something, like get out of the 1st round. You're a 1 deminsional, over paid player on a bad team with a bum leg.

Posted by: Idiot0 | November 10, 2008 11:26 AM

Selfish:

What was so urgent to have that tattoo done down in Miami when the team was in Orlando.. He knew he would be going down there anyway for Fridays game.

He probably didn't even vote for anybody?

Posted by: brooksan | November 10, 2008 12:04 PM

"Just go play your video games and keep your mouth shut until you do something, like get out of the 1st round. You're a 1 deminsional, over paid player on a bad team with a bum leg.

Posted by: Idiot0 | November 10, 2008 11:26 AM "

Actually, it was rumored that his pool is probably closer to 1.5 mil.

The stone alone cost 500k, and his 3 fish tanks cost another 500k.

The other 500k I would assume would be for the pool itself.

A pool that's used maybe 4-5 months/year even if it was heated year round...probably by gas or oil since he lives in Great Falls which most homes don't have natural gas.

The building of this pool.....I can't think of a better way to show why he's with the Obama camp given his propensity for Green objectives.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 10, 2008 12:47 PM

That video of Gil's is funny on the black president's Gil0 shoes (from the link) LOL
He's all dressed as the president at a fake state of the union address.

Posted by: washwiz | November 10, 2008 1:52 PM

The Black President video wasn't funny!!

Posted by: brooksan | November 10, 2008 2:43 PM

All I have to say to Gilbert is if you voted good for you but if you didn't you should be embarassed to even say that you didn't. As far as your stupid comment regarding taxes you act like your third generation rich what you are is new stupid money and it makes men and women your age look down on you even more. I don't get the young people nowadays who's teaching these kids, I hope your setting a better example for your kids or either don't teach them what you know ......

Posted by: sfaulk | November 10, 2008 4:39 PM

Selfish:

What was so urgent to have that tattoo done down in Miami when the team was in Orlando.. He knew he would be going down there anyway for Fridays game.

Just because you type a word in front of a sentence doesn't mean that the word relates to that sentence.

Again, how does Gilbert getting a tattoo make him look "selfish"?

In other words, what was he depriving his teammates of by getting a tattoo? How did his getting a tattoo undermine his teammates ability to win games for Gilbert's benefit? In what way did his getting a tattoo put his needs above the teams? Did the rest of the team want tattoos and Arenas refuse to get them? Did he somehow prevent them from getting tattoos?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 10, 2008 9:27 PM

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