PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19: Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards sits on the bench during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Wizards 121-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
John Wall has been off-the-wall. A triple-double in the sixth game of your NBA career is insane. And it’s made Wall the talk of the town. Which begs the question: where is the former talk of the town, Gilbert Arenas?
Technically, we know he is playing and still contributing to the team -- but what is his role? It no longer seems to be that of superstar. But is he a mentor to the new superstar?
In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Arenas says that’s exactly the role his is trying to take with the rookie. Some have said that the two wouldn’t get along or that Arenas would basically become old news. But it turns out this is exactly the scenario Arenas has been waiting for.
“I said to my friends that I wish this happened four years ago,” Arenas told SI. “I wish it happened before the knee injuries, because this team would have been fabulous. I always kept saying I wanted another two guard that can take on the scoring or for them to bring in a point guard so I can go to the two. When they drafted him, I thought it was the smartest idea.”
Since drafting Wall, the two guards have been inseparable. Arenas told SI he is constantly trying to encourage Wall to have confidence in his jump shot and giving him individual scouting reports on certain defenders.
“He has been great,” Wall told SI’s Chris Mannix. “He’s helping me out as much as he can, and I’m learning a lot just by watching him play.”
“This is easier for me,” Arenas said in the article. “I don’t have to do all the thinking. I said, ‘You do the thinking, I’ll do the shooting.’”
Arenas was somewhat of an open book about his new role, demeanor and attitude. He admitted that when he faked a knee injury at the beginning of the season that it wasn’t to let Nick Young have more playing time, but because he was afraid he would get booed.
“I was really scared of getting booed,” Arenas said. “It's a little crazy because I was here with Kwame Brown when Kwame was scared to go out there. I used to be like, Man, it's just boos. Now here I was six years later, and I was him. I was scared to go out there.”
And he talked about his reputation as a practical joker.
“I understand what people think because of the perception of me," Arenas said. "They read the funny stuff, like me taking a crap in [teammate] Andray Blatche's shoes. But nobody is going to ask what Andray did to deserve it…I don't get in trouble outside of this building. You are not going to catch me drinking and driving, or picking up prostitutes. People don't see what my teammates see, the guy who is in here three times a day working out. That's the guy they don't see.”
By the way, Arenas finally explained why Blatche’s tennis shoes turned into a toilet. According to this video on TruthAboutIt.net, it was all a misunderstanding. Arenas claims he was blamed for cutting up Blatche’s suit, which he says he didn’t do. So Blatche put Arenas’ clothes in the jacuzzi. The rest is, well, history. Gross, disgusting history. But history nonetheless.
And it seems since those days are now over, Arenas is looking for a little redemption and perhaps a chance to restore his legacy.
“I've had three knee injuries,” Arenas said. “I've disgraced my legacy here. For me to move over for John Wall is a no-brainer. What's the point of me fighting with him all day? It isn't going to make me look any better. It's not like I think I'm God's gift to the NBA and can't step aside for somebody else. I can move aside for John Wall. That's no problem for me.”