Gilbert Arenas

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Gilbert Arenas
Position Point guard/Shooting guard
Nickname The Hibachi, Agent Zero, Gil, East Coast Assassin, Gil Zero, The Black President, G.A.
League NBA
Height ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Team Washington Wizards
Nationality Flag of United States United States
Born January 6, 1982 (age 25)
Florida
High school Grant,
Van Nuys, California
College Arizona
Draft 2nd round, 31st overall, 2001
Golden State Warriors
Pro career 2001–present
Former teams Golden State Warriors (2001–03)

Gilbert Jay Arenas Jr. (born January 6, 1982 in Florida)[1] is an American professional basketball player currently with the NBA's Washington Wizards. Arenas is of Cuban-American and African-American descent. Arenas was most often nicknamed "Agent Zero," but has increasingly been referred to as "The Hibachi."[2] Both names have quickly become fan favorites in Washington. Arenas overcame his modest NBA debut, including being a second round draft pick, to establish himself as one of the most dominant players in the NBA.

From the time of his entry into the league, Arenas's popularity soared. He transformed himself from being a relative unknown to being voted by fans as an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference in 2007. Arenas overcame a 213,000 vote deficit at one point to edge out Vince Carter by just over 3,000 votes for the second of the two starting guard spots, the other spot going to Dwyane Wade.[3]

Contents

Rise to prominence

While going into the 2001 NBA draft out of the University of Arizona, Gilbert didn't seem to be much of a prospect. Teams in the first round passed on Arenas because he lacked the size needed at the shooting guard position in the NBA and lacked the awareness and ball handling skills of a point guard. With no position solidified and a shaky prospect at best, he went the entire 1st round without being drafted. The Golden State Warriors finally drafted him in the second round (31st overall). Although the Warriors did not enjoy much team success during Arenas' tenure with them, he quickly established himself as one of the league's bright young talents. In 2003, his second year in the league, Arenas received the NBA Most Improved Player Award. After that season, he was one of the most sought-after free agents of the NBA. He signed with the Washington Wizards, reportedly after flipping a coin to decide among several teams, including the Wizards, Warriors, and Clippers.[4]

Arenas had a disappointing first season with the Wizards, battling a strained abdominal muscle injury all season. However, Arenas enjoyed great success in his second season in Washington. He teamed up with shooting guard Larry Hughes (22.0 points per game) in 2004-05 to give the Wizards the highest scoring backcourt duo in the NBA and was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game. He guided the team to a 45-win season and its first playoff berth since 1997. Arenas led the team in scoring with 25.5 ppg, and finished seventh in the league in that category. He also finished sixth in the league in steals per game in 2004-05 with 1.74 (Hughes led the league with 2.89 steals per game).

Known for his fierce competitiveness and somewhat unusual behavior, Arenas quickly became a fan favorite in Washington. In the fifth game of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2005, Arenas hit a 16-foot fadeaway as time expired to give the Wizards a 112-110 victory over the Kirk Hinrich-led Chicago Bulls. On January 3 of the 06-07 season, Arenas hit a 32-foot buzzer beater to win the game against the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-105. Two weeks later on Martin Luther King Day he hit yet another buzzer-beating three pointer to beat the Utah Jazz, 114-111, in a thriller at the Verizon Center. He also hit a game winning layup as time expired to beat the Seattle Supersonics on March 22, 2007.

2005-06 NBA season

Arenas had a career year during the 2005-06 season in which he averaged 29.3 points, which ranked fourth among the scoring leaders, two steals (also fourth), and 6.1 assists per game. Despite his accomplishments, neither fans nor coaches would select Arenas to the 2006 All-Star Game. He was able to get in due to the injury to Indiana Pacers forward/center Jermaine O'Neal. Since then, he has been averaging 31 ppg on 48 percent shooting, about 2.5 steals per game, and 6.7 assists per game. He was also able to get in to the Three-point Shootout because Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell was excused due to a family illness. Arenas was the runner up to Dirk Nowitzki in the contest. [5]

On February 25, 2006, Arenas scored 46 points in less than 30 minutes, setting the NBA record for the most points scored in 30 minutes or fewer of playing time since the 24-second shot clock was implemented in 1954. He put up twelve 40-point games and forty three 30-point games in the 2005-06 NBA season.[6]

During the offseason, Arenas said that he was willing to take a pay cut in order to give the Wizards additional money with which to sign available free agents. He has expressed a desire to win a championship with the Wizards.

In the summer of 2006, Gilbert Arenas was arrested for supposedly interfering with police when they were arresting his teammate Awvee Storey for blocking traffic. However, Arenas denies that he had been disobeying police orders, and claims that he was only sticking up for a friend. He was processed and released the following day. Charges against both players were later dropped.

One of the purported reasons for Arenas' having taken a step up towards the best players in the NBA has to do with the uncertain reasons concerning his not having made Team USA for the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Although Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Assistant Coach Mike D'Antoni blamed Arenas's not making the team because of injury, there is evidence that he would not have been chosen anyway due to his scant playing time during preliminaries.

Arenas himself has noted that he withdrew from the United States national team for the 2006 FIBA World Championship because he felt that assistant coaches Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan had pre-determined the roster even prior to tryouts. Afterward, he stated that he planned on averaging 50 points against their respective teams (Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers. He succeded at his goal versus power house Phoenix, but was held to a lowly nine points and a loss versus Portland).

Arenas may have had the last laugh as Team USA and Coach Mike Krzyzewski limped home with the Bronze Medal after losing to Greece, with the USA team making fewer than one third of its 3-point shots. It is difficult not to wonder if the result might have been different with Arenas bringing his outside threat into the Team USA line-up, as Arenas is by far the most prolific three point shooter among the league's top scorers. And as noted in the January 2, 2007 edition of USA Today, Arenas is shooting three pointers at an unprecedented rate, making his success rate of approximately 40% of three-pointers attempted phenomenal.[2] He is not expected to tryout for Team USA next year.

Nevertheless, Arenas has seemed to believe that he had something further to prove to the NBA and has seemingly taken his game to another level and seemed especially determined when the Wizards met Phoenix on December 22, 2006, in Phoenix. As specifically detailed by the Washington Post on December 23, the paper noted that Arenas seemed to look in the direction of Suns' Chairman Colangelo and Sun's coach Mike D'Antoni after making backbreaking shots, including a miraculous scoop shot to send the game into overtime. Arenas ended up scoring 54 points against the Suns as the Wizards ended the Suns' 15 game winning streak.

He extends this revenge seeking to fellow USA Basketball assistant coach Nate McMillan as Arenas predicted in his Jan. 16, 2007 blog entry on NBA.com that he would score 50 points or more against McMillan's Trail Blazers when they played the Wizards on Feb. 11, 2007.

Player profile

Arenas on the Verizon Center scoreboard in a game against the Toronto Raptors, 30 March 2007.
Arenas on the Verizon Center scoreboard in a game against the Toronto Raptors, 30 March 2007.

Arenas is a prototype "shoot-first pass-second" point guard. He is a highly gifted scorer who currently scores at a rate of almost 30 points per game (2005-06 regular season average: 29.3), often using his trademark slashing drives to the basket as well as his long-range jumpshot. He has been named by many players as the hardest player to guard in the NBA.[citation needed] He is also one of the best ball thieves in the NBA, currently 2nd in the steals category with 63 and 2.0 steals per game (as of January 4, 2007).

However, his assists per game lifetime average is an unremarkable 5.4, and moreover, he is very turnover-prone, as his lifetime TO rate of 3.35 per game proves (he also "leads" the 2006 TO statistics with 3.71 and the previous three years in the top ten). In addition, his on-ball defensive game is still considered below average.

In spite of his critics, he is currently lauded as one of the best guards in the game, as his 2006 Eastern Conference All-Star call-up indicates. [7]

In an overtime game versus the Los Angeles Lakers on December 17, 2006 at the Staples Center, Arenas scored a career high 60 points, including 8 rebounds and 8 assists in helping lead the Wizards over the Lakers 147-141. Arenas now holds the Wizards' franchise record for most points scored in a game by an individual. The previous record was held by Earl Monroe with 56 points, achieved in 1968 which was also an overtime game against the Lakers. His 16 points in the extra period also set an NBA record for most points in one overtime period, surpassing Earl Boykins' record by one point.[8]

On January 26th, 2007, Arenas was voted as a first-time starter for the 2007 NBA All-Star game for the Eastern Conference, edging out Vince Carter by a slight margin.

"Gilbertology"

In the Washington, D.C. area, "Gilbertology" is the name given to Arenas's unorthodox behavior on and off the court, first coined by Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan. After being criticized for shooting too much as a point guard, Arenas would play games nearly without shooting at all, and then score at will the next game. Arenas admits that he thrives under criticism, using jersey number "0" because he was told in high school that he would get 0 minutes at Arizona.

While with the Warriors, he once took a shower at half time in full uniform.[9] Before every game he would take a teammate's jersey and hide it in the locker room to make them look for it. Warriors teammate Adonal Foyle called him a "lunatic," and Troy Murphy said he used to lick or put baby powder on donuts he was forced to deliver to the team as a prank.[10]

Arenas has been said to play online poker during the halftime of games[11], instead of resting or preparing for the second half. He disputes the accuracy of these stories, saying he was misquoted. Arenas says he does not play for money nor does he play online; instead, he plays on a DVD game of poker. On road trips, he will often eschew team outings on the town in favor of sitting in his room, ordering products from infomercials, such as a colon cleanser.[12] In the same interview he said he preferred sleeping on the couch than on his bed, and that he once ate 12 cheeseburgers while on a road trip with the Wizards in Canada.

At the end of each game, regardless of whether it is a home loss or a road win, Arenas takes off his jersey and tosses it to the crowd. He originally tossed his shoes into the crowd, explaining that jerseys were too expensive for him to pay for every game. After he signed a lucrative contract with Washington, he began to throw his jerseys out. Arenas agreed to become a team captain for the 2005-06 season after declining the previous year because he said that many times he didn't even believe the things he was saying to his teammates. He has recently been given the nickname "The Black President", and calls himself the "East Coast Assassin", in reference to his quest to prove his abilities to those who did not vote for him to be a 2006 Eastern All Star reserve. Arenas has also begun to refer to himself as "Agent Zero", a reference to his jersey number originally coined by sports blog The Wizznutzz.

He also described his ideal shoe commercial like this:

You know how I always throw my jersey into the stands after a game? In Washington, they just go crazy for it. So in this commercial, that's what I'm gonna do with my shoes. I've just hit a game winner, and I throw these shoes. Everyone starts to react, and you see everything in slow motion. Everyone's pushing, shoving, doing whatever it takes to try to get to these shoes. People from the 400 level, they're jumping off the ledge, they're missing the pile, hitting nothing but chairs, and you can just see in people's faces like, Ooooh, that hurt. While all this stuff's going on, one of the shoes pops out of the crowd, and a little girl gets it and she takes off. A couple of people see she has it, and they start chasing her, and she's looking back running—and then she gets clotheslined by a kid in a wheelchair. So he picks the shoe up and says—he's gonna have the only line in there—"They said I couldn't get it. Heh. Impossible is nothing." And then he rolls off.

[13]

During the 2003-04 season, Arenas tried to vote himself into the All Star game, trading a pair of shoes and a jersey for a box of ballots. [2]

In October 2006, an ESPN.com story stated that Arenas was converting his Washington, D.C. home to simulate high-altitude conditions, stating that he hoped the arrangement would help him have more energy, especially late in games.[14]

At the Wizards' first home game of the 2006-2007 season (November 4), during the introductions, Arenas came out wearing a blue robe with a hood, looking like a boxer. He was supposed to resemble a "wizard." [15]

He does not wear size 13 sneakers on the court even though his feet are size 14½, as popularly believed. This was a misquote from an interview. Arenas actually wears shoes a half size larger[16]

During the 2006 NBA season, he began to shout the word hibachi as he took field goal attempts in games, explaining, "You know, a hibachi grill gets real hot. That's what my shot's like, so I've been calling it that: 'Welcome to the hibachi'." He has also stated that while he is scoring on opponents, he is "cooking chicken and shrimp" in reference to his "Hibachi grill," and that if his opponent wanted to double team him, he would "cook filet mignon" as well.[17]

On December 23, 2006, Arenas told The Washington Post he had begun replacing "hibachi" with the phrase "quality shot," a direct reference to Kobe Bryant who had felt Arenas' shot selection was questionable and that he seemingly lacked a conscience. "Out of that whole game I probably took two bad shots," Arenas would respond. "And for me not to have a conscience? You're right. When you're an assassin, you don't have a conscience." Nonetheless, Kobe stated that Gilbert Arenas is one of the most difficult players to guard in the NBA.[18]

On January 3, 2007, Arenas hit a very long game-winning three-point shot to beat the Milwaukee Bucks. In a post-game interview, Arenas stated that he did not shout "hibachi" or "quality shot." Rather, he told reporters that "My swag was phenomenal."

On January 15, 2007, Arenas hit yet another game-winning three-point shot to defeat the Utah Jazz. When observing both video clips of the game winning shots, one can see that Arenas throws his hands up signaling a basket before the ball actually falls through the net. Upon leaving the court to chants of "M-V-P!" Arenas said, "MVP? That trophy is given out at the end of the year. This is (37) games into the season so you can't do too much about it." [19]

According to Gilbert Arenas's blog, he predicted that he would hit the game winner against the Utah Jazz on January 15, 2007. [20]

On January 23, 2007, when asked about Gilbert's remarks about predicting his next game against Portland, Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni jokingly said, "I can't wait to see what he does against Duke. He's gonna kill Duke." [21] Gilbert then responded by saying that given their soft rims, he'd probably score 84 or 85 points at Duke, and that he'd be willing to give up playing an entire NBA season to play against them. He added, "I wouldn't pass the ball. I wouldn't even think about passing it. It would be like NBA Live or an NBA 2K7 game, you just shoot with one person." [22].

After a team practice, Arenas made a $20,000 bet with fellow Washington Wizard DeShawn Stevenson. Arenas claimed he could make more shots from the college basketball three point distance with one hand than Stevenson could make professional level three-pointers using two hands. Out of 100 attempts, Arenas completed 73 shots. While Stevenson was taking his shots, Arenas attempted to distract him during nearly every shot attempt, including trying to do a street basketball trick involving falling on the floor, throwing another basketball in the air in front of Stevenson's path, throwing an invisible football, and mimicking shooting motions off to Stevenson's side, and break-dancing on the floor, among other acts. Stevenson needed to make his final ten shots just to tie, but only made his first five shots before missing his sixth (meaning Stevenson completed 68 of 96 attempts,) leading to Arenas winning the bet and extravagantly celebrating. Arenas added "I hope this don't mess you up for tomorrow" as a parting shot while Stevenson left the court. [23]

On February 11, 2007, after promising to score 50 points against Nate McMillan and the Portland Trailblazers he failed to even register a double digit point total. He ended up finishing with nine points on 3-15 shooting (0-8 from three) along with five turnovers in a 94-73 loss.

On February 18, 2007 during the All Star game, Gilbert joined a line of dunking Elvis impersonators and completed a between-the legs dunk. According to his NBA.com blog, Shaquille O'Neal promised him $100,000 to his Zer0 2 Her0 charity if he did it. [24]

On February 26, 2007 Gilbert announced in his NBA.com blog that he is expecting a baby boy. He talked about naming the child: "He can’t be Gilbert, because they’re going to call him, “Who’s eating Gilbert’s grape?” Or they gonna call him Gilly, Gil-gurt, Girl-bert, Burt Bert"

Personal life

Arenas was raised by his single father in Florida and California after his mother, a drug addict, abandoned them.[25] His paternal great-grandfather was originally from Cuba.

On January 5, 2007, Arenas threw a million dollar 25th birthday party for himself which was dubbed "Arenas Express". The party, which was hosted by hip hop mogul P Diddy, was attended by many celebrities and drew national media attention.[26] Arenas is a friend of rapper The Game and was listed in the booklet for The Game's sophomore album The Doctor's Advocate. He also collects a synthetic basketball from each team they play and he collects jerseys of players, and has over 200.[12] Arenas officially sponsors Team Final Boss, a professional Halo 2 team.[27] He also has his own shoe, the Adidas Gil Zero.

Arenas is donating $100 for every point he scores in each home game this season (2006-2007) to local D.C. area schools, while team owner Abe Pollin is matching that contribution for each away game. He also mentors a D.C. boy who lost his family in a fire at age 10. Arenas takes him shopping, bowling, got him a job as a ball boy for the Wizards, and acts as a brotherly figure towards him.[10]

Awards/honors

  • 3-time NBA All-Star: 2005, 2006, 2007
  • 2-time All-NBA:
  • Third Team: 2005, 2006
  • NBA Most Improved Player Award: 2003
  • 2003 All-Star Rookie/Sophomore Game MVP: 2003
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2002
  • NBA regular-season leader, minutes played: 2006 (3,384)
  • Holds Washington Wizards franchise record for most three-point field goals made, all-time with 529 (as of the 2005-06 NBA season).
  • NBA Player of the Month for the month of December 2006. Averaged a league-high 34.1 points per game during December.
  • NBA 3 time Player of the Week 06-07 season.
  • Holds Washington Wizards franchise record for most points in a game (60 against the Los Angeles Lakers).

Career records

  • Career high scoring 60 points on December 17, 2006 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers (breaking Earl Monroe's franchise record of 56 on February 13, 1968).
  • Career 50+ point games (regular season): 3
  • Career 40+ point games (regular season): 26 (25 with Washington)
  • Career triple-doubles (regular season): 3
  • Career 40+ point games (Playoffs): 1

NBA records

References

  1. ^ Barnes, Fred. "Gilbert Arenas: The Assassin", The Washingtonian, 2006-11-01. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
  2. ^ a b Gibbons, Liz. "BASKETBALL; Playing With a Gleam in His Eye", The New York Times, 2007-01-05. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
  3. ^ Turner Network Television, NBA Tip-Off, Air Date January 25, 2007
  4. ^ http://www.dcsportsfan.com/Sports/NBA/default.aspx?ArticleID=764
  5. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/02/18/bc.bkn.all.star.3.point.ap/index.html
  6. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/26/AR2006022601397.html
  7. ^ http://www.nba.com/playerfile/gilbert_arenas/index.html
  8. ^ http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20061219-123754-5995r.htm
  9. ^ http://kfba.net/WebModules/Players/Player.aspx?PlayerID=81
  10. ^ a b Lee, Michael. "Wizards Learn to Love 'Gilbertology'", Washington Post, 2005-04-23. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
  11. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15112600/
  12. ^ a b Chiarella, Tom. "The Pathology of Gilbert Arenas", Esquire, November 2006. Retrieved on 2007-02-18.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2610922
  15. ^ http://dc-wizards.blogspot.com/2006/11/ill-let-picture-do-talking.html
  16. ^ SoleCollector Magazine Interview, January 2007
  17. ^ Associated Press (2006). NBA - Charlotte Bobcats/Washington Wizards Recap Friday December 1, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
  18. ^ http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/16308646.htm
  19. ^ http://philadelphia.comcastsportsnet.com/view_content_0p.asp?ID=43458
  20. ^ http://www.nba.com/blog/gilbert_arenas.html
  21. ^ http://www.examiner.com/a-522437~Suns__coach_D_Antoni_on_Arenas___He_s_gonna_kill_Duke_.html
  22. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2743071
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn6O42a5vl8
  24. ^ http://www.nba.com/allstar2007/players/arenas_blog.html
  25. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/28/AR2006102800830.html
  26. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2007-01-06-notebook_x.htm
  27. ^ http://www.sportsgamer.com/content/189/gilbert_arenas_talks_adidas_nba_live_07_and_halo/
  28. ^ http://www.nba.com/games/20060225/NYKWAS/boxscore.html

See also

External links

2001 NBA Draft
First Round
Kwame Brown | Tyson Chandler | Pau Gasol | Eddy Curry | Jason Richardson | Shane Battier | Eddie Griffin | DeSagana Diop | Rodney White | Joe Johnson | Kedrick Brown | Vladimir Radmanović | Richard Jefferson | Troy Murphy | Steven Hunter | Kirk Haston | Michael Bradley | Jason Collins | Zach Randolph | Brendan Haywood | Joseph Forte | Jeryl Sasser | Brandon Armstrong | Raul Lopez | Gerald Wallace | Jamaal Tinsley | Tony Parker |
Second Round
Trenton Hassell | Gilbert Arenas| Omar Cook | Will Solomon | Terence Morris | Brian Scalabrine | Jeff Trepagnier | Damone Brown | Mehmet Okur | Michael Wright | Earl Watson | Jamison Brewer | Bobby Simmons | Eric Chenowith | Kyle Hill | Sean Lampley | Loren Woods | Ousmane Cisse | Antonis Fotsis | Ken Johnson | Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje | Alton Ford | Andre Huston | Jarron Collins | Kenny Satterfield | Maurice Jeffers | Robertas Javtokas | Alvin Jones | Bryan Bracey