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The power of zero

This is kind of interesting.

Via the Fanhouse, (who found it from blog buddy Gilbertology), comes this interesting article in the Toronto Star about several college players in the NCAA Tournament wearing the number 0 in honor of Gilbert Arenas.

Among those include Oregon's Aaron Brooks, one of the best players in the Pac-10, and Kansas starting center Darrell Arthur.  

At least 20 tournament teams have had a player in the program this season with jersey No. 0 or No. 00. They include top seeds (Kansas's Darrell Arthur), bottom seeds (Jackson State's Marcus Jones) and bad seeds (Georgia Tech's Lewis Clinch, who was suspended for the season for violating university policy.)

They come from Brooklyn (Arkansas' Gary Ervin) all the way to Nigeria (Michigan State's Idong Ibok). They range from 5-feet-10 (Louisville's Stuart Miller) to 6-10 (Holy Cross' Tim Clifford). They played anywhere from around a minute a game (New Mexico State's Trey Britt) to 37 minutes a game (Brooks).

"No matter who you are, wearing the number means something,'' Brooks said. "It means that you've got to be more than a zero."

You would think all these guys wearing 0 is just a coincidence.  That is, until you get to this point in the article (emphasis mine).  

The zero is a powerful statement," said Gilbert Arenas, the Washington Wizards' guard. "It is for anybody who feels unappreciated or feels like somebody is telling them that they are worth nothing.''

In other words, it is for the recruit who received few, if any, scholarship offers, zero sneaker deals, zero love. By wearing the number, a player is able to embrace his past as a zero and motivate himself to put up bigger and bigger numbers.

What Michael Jordan did for No. 23, Arenas has done for No. 0. He chose the number as a freshman at the University of Arizona, after hearing that he would play zero minutes for the Wildcats. Agent Zero, as Arenas is now known, was born.

So, too, was a generation of players who felt similarly dismissed. When they looked at Arenas' jersey, they saw more than a number. They saw a message: You think I'm a zero? Now watch me score 30.

"That's it," said Russell Westbrook, who wears No. 0 for UCLA. "You go with the zero when you've been through something and you are looking to get a new beginning. It helps you get going again. It helps you get the swag back.''

It's hard to believe that Arenas may actually be as influential as the GOAT, Michael Jordan.  But if this year's NCAA Tournament is any indication, the Zero craze is just catching on.  Maybe it has something to do with Arenas' new commercial.  Who knows?

Either way, the Arenas marketing campaign is certainly taking a turn for the better.