If you're tired of Gilbert Arenas, considering he plays for another team now, I understand. Indeed, even the Wizards owner took some shots at a certain Washington Post beat reporter for traveling to Orlando to cover Arenas' first game instead of stick with the team.
But it is worth noting that his post-game interview (captured on video by said Washington Post beat reporter) following his Magic debut was classic Gilbert Arenas. Thoughtful, different, interesting and, at times, a little off-putting. For example, here's what he said when asked about when he last was as happy as he looked against Atlanta.
"Probably since I got hurt. That injury stopped my career cold. Trying to get back and get back, this is the first time that I actually have been proud to play basketball."
And here's what he said about his time in Washington this year.
"You're going back to a team where you don't know if you're welcome. Everyone was trying their hardest to make [me] feel welcome, but when it's forced, it's never going to work."
In other words, the ridiculous no-smile act on media day was actually coming from the heart instead of being a silly distraction that means nothing. Thanks, Gilbert. I wasted a bunch of pixels telling people the smile wasn't a bad omen.
But of course, he also comes across as thoughtful at the same time, as usual.
"It was weird at first, b/c I didn't know how I would be welcomed back in Washington. Nervous. Scared. Trying to do anything just to fit in. That's where I felt I lost my aggressiveness, trying to fit in where I felt early that I wasn't a part of. But I tried to do everything just to stay out of headlines and stay out of people's way."
Save for the emo act, he did mostly stay out of the way, and save for Leonsis' public reembracing campaign (which was essentially a plea for everyone to welcome him back, which is as forced as it gets), the whole thing did seem a little forced. And yes, while the team did their best to not judge him, outsiders certainly were, as Arenas said.
"I'm looking at everything, I'm seeing what's going on, and I'm like 'it's all this again. This isn't a fresh start. You guys are still judging me, you guys are still ... basically judging me. It was frustrating at times, because it's like 'well, I thought this is a fresh start,' but it's really not."
Then again, what else were the Wizards supposed to do? They had to force it and try to welcome him back. It's the right thing to do. I can't blame anyone in that building for trying to play nice. That it didn't work shows why a trade for anyone was necessary, just to get rid of what Arenas dubbed the "dark cloud" that hung over him. As he said:
"Just like anything, for me and for Washington [both], in any dark tunnel, there's always light. You just got to keep moving until it comes."