Morning Look: Gilbert Meets the Media
I know, right? Hard to imagine that's what five years ago looked like. And today, of course, is the day that Gilbert meets the media again, to once again discuss signing a massive deal with the Wizards.
I had also forgotten that in Gilbert's introductory press conference, he guaranteed a playoff berth. That was in September, 2003. The Wizards didn't make the playoffs. Let's review former Postie Steve Wyche's recap of the media availability.
Arenas, 21, will be paired with leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse in the back court and joins a hearty group of young players deemed to be part of Washington's nucleus. He said he will do his share in wiping away any negative aura that arose before his arrival.
"We're going to make the playoffs," Arenas, known for his occasional bombast, said with a straight face. "I'm going to work hard. My team is going to work hard. We're going to do whatever it takes to make the playoffs....I don't take days off. I don't vacation. I don't know what a vacation is. One player sees how hard you're working and the rest of the team will follow. We might start off slow but we're going to finish big."
Arenas, known for his unyielding and offbeat dedication to improving his game, then told a story of how he reacted when flying from his home in Los Angeles to Washington roughly three weeks ago, when he read an article in a sports publication that predicted the Wizards would finish close to last in the league.
"I got off the plane, I came [to MCI Center] at three in the morning, that's how [mad] I was," said Arenas, who said he shot around until about 5 a.m. and then came back to play with a group of teammates and other NBA players before noon. "We're not going to have that."
The Warriors gave Arenas a key to the practice gym at Golden State, where he routinely worked out after midnight, even on game nights and practice days. The Wizards have already given him a key to MCI Center.
"The kind of work ethic that he has, most of you don't see this, but he's been here the last two and a half weeks every day, sometimes twice a day working out," Grunfeld said. "Someone who gets a big contract like he did, it would be easy to sit back and not do much about it, but Gilbert has something to prove and he always has and he's going to prove that he's a quality player."
Arenas, who has worn the No. 0 since he entered the University of Arizona in tribute to detractors who said he would not play a minute his freshman year, is expected to wear the same number with the Wizards, even though center Brendan Haywood wears No. 00. (The NBA does not allow both.) Arenas said he has a plan to entice Haywood to give up the number.
"Give him the ball a little bit more. Give him 20 touches a game, I get zero, we'll be fine," Arenas said.
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