Arenas Keeps the Mood Light
Gilbert Arenas made it clear in my story today why he came back to play five to seven games at the end of the season instead of waiting until next season. He also explained what caused him to shut down during the Washington Wizards' first round playoff series against Cleveland last April. If you haven't done it yet, you can read the story at the above link.
Arenas will travel with the team the rest of the season but he won't play Wednesday in Memphis, saving himself for the home game Thursday against the Cavaliers on TNT. Although Arenas didn't play against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, he couldn't be ignored in the locker room before the game.
He kept his teammates energized with his comedic flair. First, he started heckling Nick Young and cracking jokes while Young attempted to do a television interview with Wizards analyst Phil Chenier. Arenas had Young laughing so much that Chenier eventually had to find a back corner to complete the interview.
Later, Arenas sat down, reading on his computer and receiving electric stimulation in his left knee from a machine that looked like a car battery. Rookie JaVale McGee entered the locker room, flexing his muscles after lifting weights. Arenas shook his head and told McGee that he needed to get bigger. McGee walked over to Arenas, doing his best Mr. Universe pose, and asked, "What? Did I just hear you say that I'm bigger?"
Nope. Arenas again told McGee that he needed to get bigger and stronger after he got tossed around by Kwame Brown the night before. McGee had no rebuttal. He just dropped his shoulders and laughed. "Kwame is strong," McGee said. Andray Blatche got up from his seat to second McGee.
The pre-game laughs were good, but Antawn Jamison said he prefers the Arenas he saw on Saturday -- the one who put on his headphones to block out the rest of the world; the who didn't talk and carried a mean mug on his face. In other words, the Arenas who was preparing to play a basketball game.
"You miss that," Jamison said. "Right now, we really need something to pick us up. He's the guy that's going to take us to the promised land and we need for him to be healthy. I hope this is the first step as far as that happening. It's been a difficult year, but we hope that it makes us better, especially the young guys. We're due for some good fortune and some good news. We've got a window [to win a championship] and I think the window is still open."
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