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Gilbert Arenas Has Changed from Agent Zero to Business Arenas

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.

Agent Zero Returns to Assassin Mode

Here at LBS, we’re generally some of the biggest Agent Zero fans on the web. We’re only lukewarm on Gilbert Arenas, but we love Agent Zero. The problem is that following three knee surgeries and nearly two years off, Arenas has changed his demeanor and mannerisms. Gil started off by shutting down his ever popular blog, announcing a boycott of the media, and he changed his aggressive, scoring style to a pass-first distribution game. I don’t like that Gilbert very much, and neither do the Wizards considering that attitude has resulted in a highly disappointing 8-16 start. But on Friday afternoon, in an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Gil admitted the world misses and needs some Agent Zero, and most importantly, so do the Wizards:

“My mind is not in killer mode,” Arenas told Yahoo! Sports. “I haven’t thought killer in two years. It’s like I’ve been laid off. It’s like getting an assassin, putting him in a box and making him watch TV. He can’t go back to straight killing. Now he has a conscience. Before, I didn’t.

“I just got to play. Play, play, play and get frustrated on the court.”

That’s part of Gil’s new attitude towards distributing the ball and playing like a pass-first point guard. It’s even resulted in heavy criticism from coach Flip Saunders who says you can’t just decide you’re going to get more assists, you have to take what comes. I think it’s the concerted effort to gain assists that has resulted in so many turnovers and far less points from Gil. It seems like Zero took his own advice prior to Friday night’s game against the Advil of NBA defenses — the Warriors. Arenas attempted 25 shots (3rd highest for him on the year) and he attacked the basket, getting to the line a season-high 16 times. Sure, it was against Golden State’s (loosely-termed) defense, but it’s nevertheless one of the best signs for Washington all season. I hope Gilbert has learned his lesson; more Agent Zero, less Gilbert Arenas.

Shaunie O’Neal Files for Divorce, Shaq Cheating with Gilbert Arenas’ Fiance?

There was chatter around the internet last week that Shaq was having an affair with Gilbert Arenas’ fiance, Laura Govan. I never posted on the rumors because I didn’t consider the reports to be concrete, but the latest twist in the up-and-down relationship between Shaq and his wife Shaunie, leads me to believe the report was true. TMZ is saying that Shaunie filed for a separation in California, citing irreconcilable differences. Filing for a separation is just a precursor for an impending divorce.

shaq-shaunie shaq_shaunie Shaq and Shaunie O'Neal Shaunie O'Neal NBA TV

As stated above, Shaq and Shaunie have previously had relationship problems. First Kobe blurted out to the police that Shaq pays his women off, then a women accused Shaq of stalking her, and apparently Shaq wanted to file for divorce after it was alleged Shaunie cheated on him. It’s just one big mess but now it seems like things are finally over. TMZ is suggesting that Shaunie’s all about the money and that’s why she went to California to file her papers. It’s pretty simple; in California, common law states that all property is half of each person, so that bodes well for Shaunie in the case of separation.

Gilbert Arenas Is Hanging Up the Keyboard, No More Blogging

They say all good things must come to an end. I guess that would also include Gilbert Arenas’ blogging. Gilbert was the pioneer in the field — the first athlete to use and popularize a blog/internet as a means of reaching out to fans and building a base of support. At first what started out as just funny stories and excellent humor turned out to be a tool that divided a team and gave the rest of the league fits. While the blog got Gilbert known amongst sports fans, it helped build up Gilbert’s reputation as a loudmouth/showboater. That’s part of the reason he’s shutting things down:

“I started looking at it as, before, it was fun, and everybody has fun reading it. And then it’s like everything I said, everybody started using it as firepower, instead of saying it’s just entertainment. You know, people started using it, trying to take bits and pieces instead of enjoying the blog,” the three-time All-Star said. “So once I started seeing that, I just started visualizing, eventually, this is going to be the double-(edged) sword thing. It made me and it’s going to kill me, so I might as well stop.”

I’m glad Gilbert did realize this and put an end to it. He was riding high for a period there but when he predicted a monstrous game against the Blazers and then stunk up the joint he looked pretty bad. It’s also hard for a guy who’s been out as long as he has to talk crap or try to gain publicity. When you’re averaging 25 a game, as Alvin Gentry said, you can do anything you want. But when your game isn’t strong and you have nothing on the court to back up your words, you don’t have the right to talk. I bet that’s a big part of it for Gil. Also, with guys like Shaq and Charlie Villanueva making news twittering, it’s probably best that Gil leaves now, knowing he was the one who blazed the path. Now the game is too crowded and just simply old.

Gilbert Arenas Marrying Girlfriend Laura Govan After Seven Years Together

ALSO SEE: Laura Govan’s alleged affair with Shaq results in O’Neal divorce

Laura Govan, Gilbert Arenas' Girlfriend Laura Govan, Gilbert Arenas' Girlfriend with kid Laura Govan at Baby Shower

Agent Zero may have had his run of awful news lately — three knee surgeries in the last two seasons — but at least he’s going to bookend it with some good news. Gilbert Arenas will be marrying girlfriend Laura Govan, as he got engaged over the weekend. For some background info:

“Life is about growth and getting smarter about the choices we make,” Arenas said in an e-mail. “Being a husband and father will require both of those!”

They met in 2001, when he was a Golden State Warriors draft pick and she was doing PR for the Sacramento Kings. They split two years later but clearly stayed in touch: He was by her side when she delivered their daughter, Izela Semaya, in December 2005. And then a messy paternity dispute — lawyers, ducked subpoenas, the whole catastrophe — that they somehow worked through. He moved her to NoVa in ’06, and in March ’07, she had his son, Alijah Amani.

Gilbert has said before that he was off the market, so I’ll guess he was referring to Laura. The sad thing is Gilbert won’t be able to throw any blowout parties in his Playboy pool as a bachelor. What’s the point of having a pimped out pool like that if you can’t use it to your advantage? And one question: when he does get married, will Gilbert be hobbling to the alter on crutches?

Gilbert Arenas Is Making Good Use of His New Contract

OK, so I realize that Gil was talking about building a replica of the Playboy Mansion pool at his house before signing his new deal, but it just makes it more fun to say it this way. Anyway, DC Sports Bog was able to snag some photos of Gil’s highly hyped lagoon. Check out the pics of this million-dollar bad boy in its preliminary state:

Here are a few fast facts about the pool:

* The stone for the “mountain” cost nearly half a million dollars.

* There are three different fish tanks, one going in the “grotto,” one in the front hall, and one in the basement. Their normal retail price would have been about another half-million.

* The tank in the basement will have a recess with a couch in it so Gil can “relax and look up at the fish.”

* The work is scheduled to be finished in August.

That’s pretty clutch right there. Never have I wanted to be invited to someone’s place more than Gil’s (Playboy Mansion comes a close second). More pics after the jump

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Wizards Handcuffed by Gilbert Arenas

Come Tuesday, Gilbert Arenas will either be locked up by the Wizards for six years at max money or near max money, or he’ll be on his way to China for an Adidas promotional tour sans contract. The issue for the Wizards, as I see it, is that they’re more or less handcuffed by Arenas. If there are 30 teams in the NBA, I’m guessing there’s at least one other team out there willing to give Arenas max money, but to me, the Wizards are almost obligated to give him that money. Gil’s a superstar in that town — the most popular athlete in DC. It’s not even a question of whether or not they think Gil can lead them to a title and be the star on a championship team. It’s about keeping him in D.C. and keeping the fans happy.

Sure, having a winning team also keeps the fans happy, and they’ll get that from the Wizards. The team is good enough to reach the playoffs consistently, even in a year when Arenas and Caron Butler were both hurt. But are they a title team? Probably not, as long as they don’t have a legitimate big man, which they haven’t had since the bringing the Arenas/Jamison/Butler trio together. So the big issue handcuffing the Wizards is Arenas’ knee. He missed almost all of this past season since shredding it up two seasons ago and he didn’t look anywhere near how he was at his peak. Gil compounded matters by trying to return from the initial surgery too quickly and was forced to have a second surgery. He might never be the same if those few games he played down the stretch were any indication. He doesn’t have the same quickness or agility — the traits that made him stand out against opposing players. It’s a gamble for the Wizards, but it’s one they pretty much have to take. (And one Gilbert can certainly repay them for).