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Friday, October 13, 2006

Agent Zero Strikes Again    

Thank you, Esquire.  Good story.  And real sports reporting, despite the psycho-analytical conceit of the article.

It's somewhat worrisome that all of his successes are somehow rooted in trauma.  He slipped to #31 in the draft, which led to a hatred of all the teams who passed on him, and all the players who were drafted before him.  Marc Jackson clotheslined him every day in practice, which led to a fearlessness and recklessness when driving to the basket.  Gary Payton embarrassed him as a second-year guy, which led to an almost fear-driven desire to never be embarrassed like that again.  And that's all well and good from an achievement standpoint.  But then I look at his whole sleeping-on-the-couch thing, and wonder what the trauma behind that is.  But that's not really my business.

Anyway, knowing about Gilbert's obsessive-compulsive issues actually makes me respect him a lot more as a player.  He'll shoot thousands of buckets at 10:30 PM on a lark... he can break players down in his mind and approach the game with a measure of intelligence... he plays with such an enormous, irrational chip on his shoulder... and it's all about making himself better.  And it doesn't feel like an act.  It's one thing to tell some doofus talking head on, say, ESPN that you're dedicated to a single goal, driven with the heart of a champion etc.  It's another to show someone your soul and have the pedigree seem self-evident.  Arenas is genuinely weird, and it makes him a genuinely singular basketball player.

1 Comments:

  • Great article. I think his shoe commercial would be the best thing on TV for a long, long time.

    For me, the most enlightening moment of this piece was not a fact about Arenas, but my main man Bobby Sura:
    "So I asked Bobby Sura, "Man, how much you make?" Bobby Sura said, "Mine says $5 million. I get mine up front.""

    Yep. Bobby Sura gets lump sum paid up front. Explains everything about his game.

    By Blogger Alex, at 2:39 PM  

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