If you follow the NBA, you know that there's a good chance that there's a lockout after this season. If you listen to Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA Players Association, there's actually a 99 percent chance it's happening. Regardless, this makes every team's NBA Players Association representative extremely important.
Basically, every team is asked to vote for one of its members to act as the team representative whenever the NBA Players Association meets. It's tough to tell exactly what the criteria for this person is, but you'd think it would be a veteran player that has gotten a second contract after his rookie deal. Either way, this person is usually someone who is well-respected by his teammates.
So it was very interesting to read the news out of Wizards practice today. Word circulated that Gilbert Arenas, of all people, was elected as the Wizards NBA Players Association team rep. Britt McHenry of ABC 7 was the first to put it out there.
Just leaving #wizards practice...overheard and then confirmed, Gilbert arenas is teams player rep
I retweeted that, and then got the following message from the official NBA Players Association account.
So that explains things a bit. Hinrich is the team rep, and Arenas is the alternate. Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner has more details here.
In the process, a very interesting piece of information came to light, that one Gilbert Arenas is one of the team's union representatives. A tweet from the NBPA this morning confirmed that Kirk Hinrich is actually the elected rep. Arenas is the alternate, but he had seen Hunter's comments.
Because he only spoke for about 45 seconds, we'll have to hold off for now on a deeper discussion about Arenas getting the vote of confidence from his teammates to represent them, a subject that is certain to be analyzed thoroughly in due course.
"Just like in the past, the players gotta stick together," said Arenas. "The people fought before us, and we've got to stick together, stick together as a union. If there's a lockout, we gotta be prepared for it. If there's not, we gotta be prepared to play."
So just to clarify: Hinrich is the elected representative, Arenas is the approved alternate.
Stouffer holds off on that deeper discussion, but I think it's worth starting. Some quick thoughts:
- Before we go too crazy, consider this: who are the possibilities for that alternate position anyway? The only other legitimate one is Josh Howard, and he doesn't have much experience with this group of players. The only other players not on rookie contracts are Andray Blatche (yeah right) and Hilton Armstrong (minimum deal). Arenas may have been the choice by default.
- However, it does show one thing: Arenas still has the confidence of his teammates in the locker room. Now, sure, maybe the players don't take the voting that seriously, but at the end of the day, we are talking about their very livelihood here. They've entrusted Arenas as a potential representative to their ability to make a living professionally. That does show some degree of trust that many on the outside wouldn't think existed. We can talk all about whether that trust is a good or bad thing, but it should put a lot of that "bad teammate" talk to bed.
- But then again, maybe the Wizards just didn't really have any other choices.