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A farewell to Gilbert Arenas's mother

You have probably never heard of Mary Francis Robinson, but you have probably heard of her son, Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas. In 2006, long before Arenas's recent gun charge and sidelining injuries, Post sports columnist Mike Wise profiled the basketball star in the Washington Post Magazine.

In that story, Wise recounted how in 2002, Robinson went to a Miami Heat-Wizards game and stood behind a security guard a few feet away from Arenas yelling, "Gilbert! I'm your mom! I'm your mom!"

He didn't recognize her. He had not seen her since she handed him off to his father 18 years earlier. After the game, she approached him again by the team bus, collapsed into his arms, cried inconsolably and apologized for abandoning him. She gave him her number. When Wise profiled Arenas four years later, he had yet to call her.

That anecdote stuck with me and I wondered what had happened next.

Well, now we know: Arenas said he planned to reconnect with her after he retired from the game, but learned recently that he won't get the chance now. His mother died earlier this month, a couple of weeks before his sentencing.

Wise wrote about Robinson's life and death on Sunday . She struggled with addiction much of her life, but Wise portrayed her with great sensitivity and dignity. What I liked most about the piece was that it was more than a coda or another sidebar in the coverage of a famous athlete. Instead, it offered a deeper sense of what led up to that heartbreaking moment in 2002 when Robinson tried to reach out to the son she had given up so many years before.

By Annys Shin  | March 30, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
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I loved that story. The best part about it was that I had no idea who she was. The reporter didn't reveal she was Arenas' mother until we had a chance to know her story on its own terms.

Good stuff.

Posted by: dcnoob | March 30, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

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