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Final Night at the Improv

Say what you will about perceived lack of focus or the way-too-playful nature of the Washington Wizards, but you really won't find a funnier locker room in the NBA. You'd think that in a season that eventually ended with a franchise-worst-tying 63 losses, there might be a time when the comedy routine is put too rest. Well, it wasn't last night.

The moment reporters stepped into the locker room before the Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics, we were treated to several rounds of humorous exchanges.

Caron Butler was getting stretched by head athletic trainer Eric Waters when he noticed that Oleksiy Pecherov was gulping orange slices with the efficiency of a Dirt Devil vacuum. Butler asked Pecherov why he was eating oranges in the first place.

"I like them. They are good for me," Pecherov said.

Then, Butler, Nick Young and JaVale McGee noticed how Pecherov was just plowing through the orange slices.

"Are you going to chew," Butler asked. "You're just inhaling them."

"Three chews does not count as digesting your food," McGee shouted.

Pecherov kept swallowing the oranges as if he was in a competitive eating event, until his teammates let him be.

Moments later, McGee picked up three oranges and started juggling them. (Who does that?) Anyway, while McGee was getting his juggle on, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood made their way into the locker room.

Arenas walked in and noticed that Antawn Jamison's clothes were placed in the prime, extra large, solo locker room spot near the door. Arenas stopped and looked at Jamison and said, "No."

"You're not sitting there, Gilbert," Jamison said. "My stuff is already there."

"We can move it," Arenas said.

"You better not touch my stuff," Jamison said as he grabbed a roll of tape from the training table.

"Gilbert," Jamison said, while Arenas grabbed a seat in Jamison's locker room stall.

Jamison did his best Randy Johnson and fired the tape at Arenas, but was a bit off target. Arenas grabbed Jamison's Louis Vuitton duffle bag, placed it in front of his chest and said, "Go ahead, hit the Louis."

"That was too light," Jamison said of the tape, as he rubbed his shoulder. "I almost threw my arm out. I need something heavier."

Jamison then told McGee to give him one of the oranges, because the tape wasn't going to get Arenas to move. Arenas eventually relented without Jamison having to resort to pelting him with oranges.

"I still remember what happened in my second year. But it won't happen again," Arenas said, reminding Jamison of how the Golden State veterans tossed Arenas in a tub of water when the two were with the Warriors. Arenas then ripped off his shirt and flexed. "I'm bigger."

"It'll be just like it was back then," Jamison said.

Another interesting scene was when the players were trying to determine who was going to play and who was going to sit out against the Celtics. Juan Dixon considered sitting out when JaVale McGee almost lost it.

"Bro, you got to play," McGee begged. "If you don't play, I won't get no shots."

Butler even thought about sitting out, but Darius Songaila begged him to play.

"You're not going to leave me with them," Songaila said, pointing to Nick Young and McGee.

With Jamison and Haywood already resting, the opportunistic Young realized that the fewer available players would give him a chance to start and shoot as often as he wanted. Young approached Butler and said, "All the other stars taking the night off. You don't want to be out there with me."

Butler just shook his head and walked away.

And like that, the show was over. Curtain closed.

By Michael Lee  |  April 16, 2009; 9:33 AM ET
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Next: You Tell Us: Why Were the Wizards So Bad?


Didn't I read about AJ complaining that the young players don't take the game seriously enough? And he's throwing tape at Gil and contemplating throwing oranges? Sounds a bit hypocritical but... whatever.

I personally don't think that clowning around in the locker room has anything to do with the games (unless you are supposed to be reading a scouting report) but since AJ criticized, he oughtta lead by example.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

good night Alice.

Posted by: oddjob2 | April 16, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Mike, what exactly were AJ and BTH and AB resting for?

Did they want to make sure that they were fresh for their upcoming 4 month vacations? You definitely don't want to be tired while you're in the French Riviera.

They should get docked 1/82 of their salary. If it was a coaches decision, he should have been fired at halftime of that last game.

Maybe Tapscott was thinking "Now that we've locked in the 2nd worst season in franchise history, I can finally rest some of my players".

Great move, genius. I'm sure that the experience the young players gained in that last game against the Celtics summer league squad will prove invaluable going into next season.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

So, in the last game of the season, because everyone else is injured, the coach gives all the youngsters real minutes -- the way he should have been doing early on, when injuries started killing the Wiz and any postseason hopes.

Gosh, I'm going to miss the Tapscott era so!

Posted by: keithward64 | April 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Lighten up.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | April 16, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

This article explains perfectly why the Wizards will have a losing record again next year. A don't care we just lost and are the worst Wizard team in history attitude speaks volumes of why this team is so bad.

Posted by: Iowahoosier | April 16, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Iowahoosier, how exactly is the team supposed to act after only winning games 19?

personally, I like that the mood is light and they still get along because these players are not going anywhere in the near future.

I think it bodes well for the future.

That and the fact that Tap won't be anywhere near the bench next year.

Posted by: tedunni1 | April 16, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

You'll notice that McGuire never gets tagged with any of the silly stuff. Too bad that's not a ticket to the all-star game, but Taps sure rewarded his behavior.

BTW Iowa, the team with the best record in the NBA horses around in the locker room and on the floor before the games.

Posted by: Izman | April 16, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Who says they don't care? What are they, supposed to do, become severley depressed because they haven't been winning this year. Are all professional athletes supposed to be manic depressives? Only happy when they when, and inconsolable when they lose? Obviously there's a time for being serious (practice, games, etc., they are getting paid alot), and I'm sure these guys are having a much harder time dealing with the dreadful season than most Wizards fans are (however badly fans think things are going), but I don't see anything wrong with guys having a bit of fun at their job, despite their record.

Posted by: grimesman | April 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Amen Grimesman. And on that note, until draft day, later yall.

Posted by: ivyleague | April 16, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"Didn't I read about AJ complaining that the young players don't take the game seriously enough? And he's throwing tape at Gil and contemplating throwing oranges? Sounds a bit hypocritical but... whatever."

Yeah, because a light fun moment before the last game of a 19 win season that was essentially over in December is an unpardonable sin by a veteran player.


"With Jamison and Haywood already resting, the opportunistic Young realized that the fewer available players would give him a chance to start and shoot as often as he wanted."

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Those same light fun moments that the young guys were pilloried for?

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

...because a light fun moment before the last game of a 19 win season that was essentially over in December...

This fragment here says a lot. There should be no light fun moments before the last game of a 19 win season that was essentially over in December...especially if you're a vet who knows the clock is ticking. But that's just me.

Maybe Funbunch is right and I need to lighten up. I'll accept that.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

And to set the record straight, I'm not expecting a funeral in the locker room b4 games. It should be fun but I'm just saying that if you're also partaking, don't call out the young players.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It had to be tough, going out there for that last game of a rotten season. I don't fault the guys at all for keeping their sense of humor about things. And it obviously didn't affect Caron Butler's play at all, since he scored a season-high in points.

Next year will be better.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 16, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not expecting a funeral in the locker room b4 games. It should be fun but I'm just saying that if you're also partaking, don't call out the young players."

If he called out the young players specifically for their behavior before this particular game, you'd have a point. But he didn't so you don't. The season is done. Get over it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

You're still the same insufferable aho you've always been. You're one of the reasons we should ALL be glad the season's over.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

aho = dbag = know it all.

you get the point.

Posted by: original_mark | April 16, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Too bad this blog cannot be as loose as the Wizards locker room seems to have been.

Lighten up people, it's a GAME!

The team will take care of business next year, God willing.

Posted by: khrabb | April 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey, it's not my fault that Young is still a one-dimensional chucker who doesn't play defense, that McGee is still clueless on anything other than alley oop dunks, and that Pecherov still stinks like 3-day old fish. Don't take the crushing failure of your dreams and expectations out on me.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"you get the point."

The point of your personal bitterness over the fact that your pet players didn't meet your expectations and your insistence on blaming everyone for their failure to grow but the players themselves?

No, actually, I really don't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Jamison has a serious foot injury and the Wizards training staff saw no reason to play Haywood or Arena. AB supposedly had a sore knee, but I don't think you can blame Tapscott for the star players being held out of the meaningless last game on the road.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 16, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE!!! If i can get over EJ being canned(i'm still in therapy) then we as Wizard fans can stop the whaling and nashing of teeth to enjoy the summer and gear up for the draft and the summer league(oh boy!!) and then training camp and before you know it back to trading barbs on this blog for the upcomming 09-10 NBA season.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 16, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

JaVale McGee = MVP!

Posted by: RedCherokee | April 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You seem like a load of laughs yourself, original_mark.

Posted by: IrenePollin | April 16, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

i think that the playing around in the locker room is just confidence, they know that injuries basically ruined the season and that when they are fully healthy they can beat anyone. if you think about it, almost every game this season was decided by a few points, besides a few blowouts here and there. lol

Posted by: kevdogg25 | April 16, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

they're the same sorry ass Bullets.

Good thing they are happy losers.

Posted by: IHateJLC | April 16, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

fun locker room story -- just hope everything gels next season!

Posted by: washwiz | April 16, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I think what bothers me about the whole goofy locker room syndrome is that it's been pointed out that our locker is about as loose as it gets around the league. Couple that with one of the worst records in the league and at the very least it looks extremely bad.

Of course, nobody expects serious professional automatons all the time, but something seems to be missing in this locker room. Things like professionalism, pride, desire to improve, or how about anger after playing like crap? This is beyond GA, AJ, BH, BC as far as scrutinizing their every move bc they have put in the work and are professional basketball players with credentials like all-star appearances. I think they do have to recognize that if they are loose then they are telling those guys they can be too and they haven't shown that they can succeed in that environment yet! Not even close!

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 17, 2009 2:37 AM | Report abuse

Hahahaha no matter how stressful this horrible season was, i will always have alot of love for my Wizards...People that are angry with this sort of behaviour need to realise that this was one very emotionally draining season for everyone involved but most importantly the players. Let the boys have their last bit of fun before heading off into the offseason...But come next season this will be a very different team...We will compete for a top 2 or 3 placing in the East...You Heard it here first!!

Posted by: Mase1 | April 17, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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