The Washington Wizards are trying to change their public image and a lot of it began with a fun start to the season. The franchise held a Midnight Madness practice for its fans at midnight and blew out the Patriot Center on George Mason University’s campus like a big-time college team. They had musical performers, introduced the players one by one, and then ran a typical practice. If you’re a hardcore fan, the event looked like a lot of fun. If you’re Gilbert Arenas, it was a nuisance.
Suspended last year for his gun incident, Gilbert Arenas was much different than usual. He was quiet at media day Monday, keeping his interview time short and his smiles to a limit. He was sporting a beard which was the product of a bet with Nick Young. The formerly gregarious superstar with one of the more charming personalities in the league has bottled himself up and decided to keep emotions to himself. After getting justifiably destroyed by the media for the gun incident and subsequent mocking, he’s a different man.
Not only does Arenas feel burned by the media because of his new bad boy image, but he also likely feels cast aside by his team. The former franchise player was introduced second-to-last by the Wizards at the Midnight Madness event; the top billing was reserved for top overall pick John Wall. Though the Wizards have been planning to move ahead with Wall as the face of the franchise, Gilbert still has a chance to win everyone back.
If Arenas returns to pre-knee injury form on the court, the adulation from the media and fans will return. After the knee injury, Arenas became too much talk. Now, he’s lost weight and is in his best physical condition in years. Let’s not close the book on Gil’s career just yet. And you know what, not only will the fans be back, but so will the smiles. After all, nobody likes Business Arenas. We want Agent Zero back.