In the summer of ’06, Gilbert Arenas was among the final cuts for the U.S. world championship team. At the time, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer was outraged by coach K’s decision, saying he ‘did everything they wanted him to do,’ but still didn’t make the cut. Today, how Arenas looks at it, changed.
„I was like ‘whatever you need from me, I’m ready to do it.’ That was my one mistake – I shouldn’t have done that.“Gilbert Arenas, Fubo Sports
It’s a neverending battle between talking the talk and walking the walk, and the impression that discrepancy between the two leaves. Coming into the training camp, Arenas was all about talking the talk, and the talk was setting aside his NBA credentials for the sake of the national team.
But once that ball tips off, and you get the impression you’re overqualified to be the one making sacrifices, the talk becomes the walk. That’s when the ego intervenes, and your competence has you rethinking the whole taking a step back part. In terms of fitting, that’s the biggest challenge, and it’s something 24-year-old Arenas simply couldn’t overcome.
„Once we start going to practice, my attributes took over. I’m out there killing, and it was like ‘We don’t need that, we already have LeBron and Melo and D-Wade.’ I’m like ‘There are only three two-time all-stars here, and I’m one of them.’ I didn’t want to adapt to taking some Brad Miller type of role.”Gilbert Arenas, Fubo Sports
It’s a well known dynamic with national teams; team USA especially. The distribution of opportunity in a higher concentration of talent is challenging, and taking a ‘lesser role’ in such an environment is inevitable. The team’s leaders have to do it, and guys coming off the bench have to do it, but it’s all for the benefit of the collective.
Agent Zero is 14 years late with that conclusion, as he became the victim of his own immaturity, depriving himself of winning a medal playing for the national team. And the worst thing is, he never got a chance to atone for the way he handled the situation.
Injuries, combined with off the court stuff, denied Arenas the opportunity to once again compete for a roster spot on Team USA. ’06 was his chance, and he blew it due to poor ego management and inability to take a back seat.
Chris Bosh did it with the Heat – he’s a 2x NBA champion. Kevin Love did it with the Cavs – he’s an NBA champion. Dozens of guys did it for Team USA – most of them have a medal to show for it. Arenas didn’t do it, and he has the same number of medals for the U.S as me – none.