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WIZARDS' ARENAS, CRITTENDON INVOLVED IN GUN PLAY ... SIMON GOURDINE MUST BE SHAKING HIS HEAD PDF Print E-mail

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Career Limiting Move
The New York Post recently reported that Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittendon were involved in a confrontation in the Wizards lockerroom that resulted in both men drawing guns on each other.   The incident apparently involved a $25,000 gambling debt that Arenas owed to Crittendon.  According to anonymous sources, the dispute occurred on a team flight back to Washington DC on December 19th.  The alleged incident occurred two days later on December 21st in the locker room before practice.  Arenas originally made headlines on Christmas after it was reported that he was being investigated for violating league rules on gun possession.  He later told reporters that he placed three unloaded guns in the team locker room because he no longer wanted them in his home after the recent birth of his third child.  A full article from David Aldridge of TNT Sports is here ( http://clicky.me/7lb ).

Somewhere Simon Gourdine is Shaking his Head 

Arenas is known more for his quirky personality and off court activities, such as his night life, blogging and tweeting.  At age 19 he was drafted in the second round of the NBA by the Golden State Warriors.  He blew a chance to be taken in the first round when he told the draft interview board that his long-term goal was to be an "international pimp".  Gil later said the comment was "tongue-in-cheek", but after hearing the answer, several teams passed on him.  In SLAM Magazine's prescient December 2009 article titled "Return of the Mack" ( http://clicky.me/7la ), SLAM mentioned Gil's new level of maturity and professionalism versus his earlier days in the league.  Crittendon was a McDonald's All-American coming out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in 2006.  He had a stellar year at Georgia Tech his freshman year and was the 19th pick in the 2007 NBA draft in 2007.  I have not heard much about him since entering the NBA.  In fact, neither Arenas nor Crittendon are known for what they are actually paid to do - win games.

It wasn't long ago that the NBA was a considered a niche sport and trailed both the NFL and Major League Baseball in popularity.  In the early to mid-1970's the league was about 75 per cent African-American and had a reputation as being "drug infested".  At the time Simon Gourdine, a lawyer and Harvard MBA, was deputy commissioner under Larry O'Brien and the highest ranking African American in the NBA's front office.  Gourdine had to answer the drug allegations on behalf of the league as well as help develop the 1976 collective argaining agreement that lead to free agency and work on the merger between the ABA and the NBA.  That all seems like ancient history now after Dr. J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan helped broaden the NBA's appeal with their exciting brand of basketball on the court, and their diplomacy and charisma off it.  Somewhere Simon Gourdine must be shaking his head at the thought that current players (i) are either unaware that the NBA was once thought to be "too black" to ever gain mass appeal or (ii) have reneged on their obligation to remain ambassadors for the league.

Career Limiting Move      

One thing not up for debate is that gun play in the NBA is a career limiting move, as described here ( http://clicky.me/Shockims ).  If it is confirmed by the NBA that either Arenas or Crittendon brandished a gun on a teammate, long-term suspensions and fines are likely to be handed down by the league.  The incident is currently being investigated by local Washington DC authorities.  There is also a remote possibility that Arena's $111 million contract, signed in 2008, could be voided by the Wizards.  Once considered one of the fastest players in the league, Arenas missed all but two games last season due to a knee injury.  Given his diminished mobility due to injury and the Wizards' losing record (10-20), that scenario is not out of the question.  The NBA Players' Association has stated that they will resist any such attempt by the Wizards to void Arenas' contract.  Stay tuned. 

 

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