It’s been two years since Gilbert Arenas has been relevant in the NBA. On top of being one of the league’s top talents at the time, Agent Zero also possessed Shaq-like charisma that allowed him to grace national magazine covers, appear in TV commercials and pen the hottest blog in the sports world (do athletes still blog?). Coming into the 2009-10 season healthy for the first time in two seasons, Gilbert is on a mission to get his name, his rep and his team back into relevancy.
But this time, he’s just letting his game do the talking. Ever since training camp started, Arenas has been doing his best John Stockton and Tayshaun Prince impersonations by giving reporters as little, if not nothing at all, sound bites. He basically locked himself inside Tim Grover’s gym in Chicago all summer getting ready for this season. It’s obvious this year’s personal for him. Like Dwyane Wade a year ago, Arenas is looking to remind everybody who forgot about him, exactly who he is again. And that’s exactly what he did opening night.
Next to the Celtics topping Cleveland at the Q, Arenas made the biggest statement of opening night. Agent Zero went for 29 points, 9 assists in Washington’s 102-91 road victory over Dallas. He was killing the Mavs with his jumper and got to the line nine times, making eight of them. Although he didn’t display a whole lot of athleticism, he was moving well and playing without a knee brace.
Last season, Wade came back from an injury and a losing Heat season in ’07-08 to have an MVP-worthy year and making the playoffs. Will it be deja vu for Arenas, who has appeared in just 19 games in the past two years?
Obviously, last night was just one game out of an 82 games season. Playoff talk, all-star talk, comeback talk are really premature right now. Working hard in the summer doesn’t guarantee an injury-free season. Hell, we don’t even know if his talking-strike will last, there’s still half-a-dozen months between now and April for Arenas to get a Twitter account.
If I were to guess, I’d say that Arenas will play the majority of the year. I think he’ll be an all-star again and I think he’ll even lead them to the playoffs. Will he be this year’s Dwyane Wade? I wouldn’t doubt it but even if he’s not, at least he’s relevant again.
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