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Gilbert Arenas says he "faked" an injury because he was scared of being booed (UPDATED)

If you're tired of Gilbert Arenas, then skip this post.  I honestly don't blame you.  If not, you're going to want to read Chris Mannix's Sports Illustrated story on him.  The full thing is here, and it's certainly a revealing look at what's going through Arenas' head right now. 

The most newsworthy part of the story is the very beginning.  Arenas is now saying that he "faked" the injury in the preseason not to let Nick Young play, but rather because he was scared about the reception he'd receive.

Last Thursday, after practice in Washington, Arenas told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the real reason he sat out wasn't, as he originally told reporters, to rest his thrice-surgically-repaired knee, nor was it the excuse he gave the next day, that he wanted to give backup point guard Nick Young the chance to play. "I was really scared of getting booed," says Arenas. "It's a little crazy because I was here with Kwame Brown when Kwame was scared to go out there. I used to be like, Man, it's just boos. Now here I was six years later, and I was him. I was scared to go out there."

Even I am getting tired of how much Arenas' story is changing.  It's crying over spilled milk now, but I think Arenas' fears were unfounded.  Based on the reception he received on Saturday night, he would have been welcomed back just fine.  

Other stuff:

  • Arenas and John Wall are apparently getting along extremely well.  Their first interaction was awkward, but they are now "fast friends" that hang out "24/7."  Arenas is apparently peppering Wall with scouting reports and arriving early to the gym to shoot with Wall.  That's really, really good to hear (even if it's coming from Arenas himself).
  • Arenas said he thought about retiring, and was actually serious about it.  "As much as people were down on me, I was down on myself," says Arenas. "The suspension broke my spirit. I kept thinking, This isn't what I signed up for. I did something stupid and I regret it to this day. But we all f--- up. I just thought I didn't want to be a part of this anymore. I thought the league could do without another knucklehead running around. I thought I'd retire for a year or two and try to make a comeback later on."   See, this is, to me, the kind of thing someone says when they're still trying to figure out how to respond to adversity.  They swing from denial to overreacting (the "woe is me" thing).  I doubt Arenas seriously could have retired like this.
  • Arenas said he's getting inspiration from a movie called Undisputed III, a direct-to-DVD movie about a fighter that suffers a knee injury and comes back to be the best fighter in the world.  The protagonist is a brooding character, which explains Arenas' stand-offish nature with the media.
  • We talked about the shoe-pooping quote yesterday, but it certainly looks like you can read it as him taking a bit of a shot at Andray Blatche.  
The article ends with Arenas giving the following quote:
"I've disgraced my legacy here. For me to move over for John Wall is a no-brainer. What's the point of my fighting with him all day? It isn't going to make me look any better. It's not like I think I'm God's gift to the NBA and can't step aside for somebody else. I can move aside for John Wall. That's no problem for me."
Ultimately, I totally understand if this is a little too much Arenas attention for you.  A part of me was kind of tired of reading about this, since it's clear Arenas was trying to get some message out in the story.  But at the same time, it's also a very good story by Mannix, and it's certainly interesting.  Regardless of all the other things Arenas said, I do believe he is trying to help John Wall succeed.  I've always said that, as long as he's doing that, I'll live with all the other baggage about the fake injury, the shoe-pooping and all that other stuff.   

UPDATE: I talked to Mannix briefly about the story (and by "talked," I mean we exchanged Twitter messages, because that's the rage these days), and he wanted to clarify a couple things.
  1. He does not believe Gilbert Arenas was taking any sort of shot at Andray Blatche with the "prostitutes" line.  He said that it did happen in the same quote, but Arenas, as he tends to do, switched thoughts mid-sentence. 
  2. He said that everything Arenas said about getting along with John Wall was backed up by Wall himself.  The 24/7 thing, the shooting early thing, the scouting reports, etc.  So it's not really just coming from Arenas.