Wednesday , Jan , 03 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Gilbert Arenas: Agent Zero

Gilbert Arenas has a healthy amount of nicknames, some better than others.

Most notable is “hibachi” a word for a traditional Japanese heating device, or more simply, a grill. GA has been known for shouting hibachi when he takes a shot, because his shot is hot like a hibachi. Okay, sure, whatever.

Gilbert Arenas: Agent ZeroHe also calls himself "The Black President". Don’t ask me why, but I’m sure his capital residence has something to do with it. Regardless, I have a strange feeling Dave Zirin would approve. Let’s not forget the "East Coast Assassin" which somehow has something to do with those people who did not vote for him as a reserve for the ’06 All-Star Game.

      But of all his self concocted pseudonyms, one in particular is my
favorite: Agent Zero. I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but it sounds like something out of movie, just cinematic enough to fit his dramatic personality.

    Why does any of this matter? It matters because "Agent Zero" and hibachi and all of Gilbert’s other ridiculous names are just a few of the reasons why I just plain like the guy. And that matters more than you know.

    I’m usually not one to offer praise easily, particularly when it has nothing to do with a player’s on-court exploits. But in the case of Gilbert Arenas, the dude is just plain cool, and it’s a shame more people haven’t caught on to that fact.

    Gilbertology is a term first used by Wizard’s coach Eddie Jordan, to describe the anomaly of Gilbert Arenas and his sometimes erratic behavior. To me it just describes what sets him apart. Gilbert’s dad being an actor, it’s no surprise Arenas Jr. developed a flair for the dramatic, like walking into the first home game of the season in a blue robe, like he was about to go twelve rounds in a title fight. He’s known for playing poker during halftime and ordering infomercial products from his hotel room on road games. And by now just about everyone’s heard of his halftime shower in full uniform back in his Golden State days.

    Arenas also sponsors a professional video game team, Final Boss, which competes in Halo 2 tournaments and is known as one of the best teams in professional gaming history. That has absolutely nothing to do with basketball, but it just goes to show you how diversified this guy is.

    The numbers on Arenas read like they should on any good superstar: six foot three, two hundred and ten pounds, drops 30 points per, six dimes, and a couple of steals. These are the things you already know, or at least what you should know. These are the things that make Arenas like every other star in the Association. But that’s not what’s important. What is important is what makes him different.

    The man I like to call Agent Zero is top five in the league in scoring (3rd), steals (2nd), field-goals (1st), free-throws (2nd), and three-pointers (1st) made. He’s already got a 60 point game under his belt, and another outing that went for 54. Yet, despite all his game, despite all the numbers, you probably don’t hear much about Arenas, or at least not as much as you should.

    I can’t seem to figure it out. There seems to be the idea that this guy isn’t marketable or worse yet that isn’t likeable. It’s the kind of idea that made GA tape up the Adidas logo on his sneakers in protest of the shoe company’s neglect in getting him some run in the marketing game.

    If anyone deserves spots on SportsCenter, ink in the national publications, shoe deals, and commercials, it’s Gilbert Arenas. His game is elite; you’re on a different kind of drug than I know is even available if you try to deny that. This is a man who scores at will. As a scorer he’s on the level of Allen Iverson or Dwyane Wade – that’s truth. Yet the national spotlight he gets is no where near that of the other top players in the league.

    The purpose of this story is not to convince you of the level of his talent, because I honestly don’t feel that’s even in question. The perplexing and upsetting part about all this is that his talent isn’t denied, but his status is and quite frankly it’s one of the most ridiculous things in pro basketball. Maybe I’m seeing something other people aren’t, but it seems to me the only reason Arenas is denied the status of a legit superstar in this league is that some people just don’t like the guy’s personality for whatever reason.

    And that is, more than anything else, what is forcing my digits to keyboard on this one. It’s one thing to deny his talent, his ability, it’s an entirely different form of hating when it’s obvious the only thing keeping Gilbert Arenas from true NBA stardom is the fact that he isn’t the smiling poster boy face the league wants.

    You can say he’s too outspoken, too outlandish, too unpredictable, but if you’re only seeing the negatives of his flamboyant personality, you’re only seeing half of the picture. Gilbert Arenas is passionate, candidly honest, intelligent, and a positive force both on the basketball court and in the community.

    I could make a case for Gilbert Arenas the basketball player, but I think he’s doing a fine job of that himself. No matter what you call him, my advice to you is to try and get to know Gilbert Arenas the person – you’d like him.