It seems just about everything with Gilbert Arenas is a joke. That has been his m.o. everywhere he has gone. But it was OK, it gave him a personality that so few players had or were willing to show. He was off the wall and irreverent, saying things that are politically incorrect and not always in public relations’ best interest.
It was cool though, because Arenas was great on the floor, dropping in 30-foot jumpers like they were nothing and getting to the basket with relative ease. Arenas was an offensive juggernaut. The only thing that seemed able to stop him was his eventual knee injury that sidelined him for an entire season and most of another.
Then he became effectively muzzled by the gun incident in the locker room. He was not quite the same after the injury and was not quite himself after it. The rumors swirled that Arenas just was not in shape and I believe he even said he just stayed in his house after the trade to Orlando and seemed a little lost.
Muzzled really is the right adjective.
Maybe Arenas needed a summer of certainty to clear his head. Or he needed a reminder or motivation to get himself going again. Because it is starting to feel like the old Hibachi is coming back.
Arenas is officially back on Twitter with some, ahem, PG-13 comments on his new feed, @AgentZeroShow. There are rumors circulating, and his new Twitter handle suggests it too, that Arenas will return to wearing zero on the court.
With fun tweets such as: “Just finished my bike ride 35.7 miles..I almost lost my life..a grasshopper jumped in my way and I ran into the bushes..okay I didn’t almost” and “Lmaoo why did sumone walk into the locker rm with tight skinny jeans..(If u hav to put ur nuts in ur pockets to wear ur pants) bigger size”
Arenas seems to have regained his swagger off the court, but what about on the court?
“When [Gilbert Arenas] came to Orlando — he has a lion on his stomach — the lion was sad,” Dwight Howard joked at his Memorial Day bar-b-q after claiming Arenas had lost 15 pounds. “So now, the lion ain’t sagging no more, and I’m proud of that.”
OK, that is a good sign. So was the tweet above where Arenas claimed to bike for nearly 36 miles. But as we know with Dwight and Gilbert, they tend to fall into hyperbole. Especially when they are talking with fans and relating to fans. It is just who they are — fun-loving guys.
But Arenas appears to be working extremely hard to get back into playing shape and regain the form that made him a perennial All Star and threat to lead the league in scoring.
In talking about Dwight Howard, his future and how impotant and intriguing the Magic’s summer is going to be, Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com told Mike Bianchi on his radio show that the real telling situation for the Magic’s future success is going to be on Arenas and him turning himself around.
“Gilbert Arenas is very much aware of his situation and how his situation impacts the team’s ability to move forward,” Rudolph said. “Gilbert Arenas is not here to hurt the Orlando Magic. He really cares about this team. He is going to get back into that gym and work extremely hard.
“Without saying too much, and please try to read between the lines, Gilbert Arenas is not here to hurt the Magic. He has a genuine concern about the team going forward and he will do what is necessary to help them get where they want to be.”
Rudolph noted he had a two-hour conversation with Arenas and some things were said in confidence. Reading between the lines could mean Arenas is committed to getting himself back into form… or it could mean he is seriously thinking about exercising his early termination option in 2012 or even accepting some sort of buyout in the future.
I do not know if any of that is true, I am just taking Rudolph’s invitation to read between the lines. Feel free to have your own interpretation.
Arenas was getting back to his 2003-07 form in 2010 before the incident ended his season prematurely. When he started with Orlando, he just never could find his rhythm coming of the bench. He was clearly a step slow and unable to explode to the basket. His 3-point shot was off too (27.5 percent with the Magic), making him much less valuable for the Magic.
Gilbert is Orlando’s highest paid player and so the expectations for his first full season in Orlando are boing to be extremely high. He was a bitter disappointment in 2011. While he was not the reason the Magic exited early in the first round (I actually thought he played pretty well in the final three games of the series), the Magic will need more from him.
If his new Twitter feed is an indication that Arenas is comfortable enough to be himself and wants to get back to where he was in Washington, it certainly feels like a good start.
Photos via DayLife.com.