It didn't take a genius to surmise that Gilbert Arenas was likely a questionable influence on younger players late in his career in Washington. At his peak, he was an exceptionally good player. But he also had a bit of a wild side, to put it mildly, and fans have long wondered how that played into the development of players like Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche.
Well, as Arenas tells it, he had quite the effect on them. He detailed how his, uh, mentorship shall we say turned them into the NBA players they became. Mind you not one, but two of those guys ended up with alter egos.
Arenas went into specifics about that time on the 'Opinionated 7-Footers' podcast with Ryan Hollins and former Wizards teammate Brendan Haywood.
"I could see all the raw talent [Young] had. Put some work ethic into it and, man, this could be a nice little backcourt. So, from there I'm taking him under my wing. But the problem with that, with under my wing at that point in my career, I'm hurt and I get hurt again. So, I'm not the person I was when I was healthy; in the gym 24-7. Now it's Hangout Gil. So, now Hangout Gil is with rook. The rookies are hanging out with Hangout Gil. It's not the determined, 'let's get better, let's prepare.' If I'm going on the road, I don't have to play. I'm going to go to the club. Rookie wanted to go with me. So, he became my sidekick in that sense, which was unfair to him at that moment," Arenas explained.
"With the young guys, they picked up more on my off-the-court behavior rather than my on-court behavior. So, I kind of messed up the little group; the Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and [Nick Young]."
Arenas went on to say that he was particularly close with Young, as they had similar personalities. They were both pranksters, and not of your usual variety.
"We'll be eating and when he's finished, he would lick his fingers and put his hand in your food so that you're finished, too. So, that's what I was also dealing with," Arenas said.
This whole conversation led to a particularly absurd story that may not have been publicly told before. It involves the lead-up to a story Young famously told last year about Arenas shooting him with a BB gun during an NBPA meeting.
As Haywood explained, that was only the half of it.
"No one realizes that before we had guns in our locker room, we had a real live BB gun fight where no one was suspended or fined or anything. It was ridiculous," Haywood said.
"Our team was so good, but we had so much dysfunction and so little discipline. We had a BB gun fight in a locker room full of millionaires where BB guns can literally pop off the locker, hit somebody in the eye and blind them. We've got a BB gun fight in the locker room."
Uh, yeah, that does sound quite dangerous. And through all of it, Arenas' tutelage apparently generated one of the NBA's most entertaining personas.
"So, that is how Swaggy P became Swaggy P," Haywood said.
The full podcast is loaded with fun stories about Arenas' career, including his time with the Wizards. Check it out right here.
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