“All the guys I’ve talked to are like, ‘Can you believe this stuff about Javaris?’ ” said Brendan Haywood, his former teammate in Washington who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. “This is a grounded guy everybody got along with, real quiet guy. I’m still in shock and think there has to be some mistake.”
So do others, especially the people who knew Crittenton when, who may be wondering where it all went wrong.
He was named a captain his sophomore year in high school, was on a Georgia state championship team featuring Dwight Howard, a senior mentor to his teammate.
A member of the Future Business Leaders of America, Crittenton carried a 3.5 grade point average. He was recruited to Georgia Tech by Paul Hewitt, the current George Mason Coach. Hewitt declined comment Monday, perhaps having trouble with an incongruent thought — how the kid he knew didn’t quite match with the headline, “Crittenton Wanted in a Homicide.”
As crazy as two NBA players mean-mugging each other with weapons in the workplace seemed, the latest awful chapter feels so far away from the drama of 2009.
Javaris Crittenton, murder suspect?
This is a tough one to digest, especially for many of us hanging on Arenas’s every utterance during the ordeal and after he returned from his suspension.
It was all Gilbert, all the time then. Crittenton was the forgotten counterpart, a foil for another mean-spirited Gil prank gone criminally awry. We were so worried whether his all-star career could ever be resurrected, whether Arenas was going to be okay after he pocketed, oh, $20 million per year, that we forgot to check on the guy who very possibly kissed his NBA career goodbye that day.
Waived by the Bobcats in training camp a year ago, hanging on with a developmental league team in Bismarck, N.D., for a part of last season, Crittenton may have had few resources to fall back on when he returned to his native Atlanta for the summer.
Little-known fact uncovered in court documents in the spring of 2010: Crittenton, via text message, asked to borrow thousands from Arenas to help pay his ill mother’s escalating medical bills. Just two months after their confrontation, Arenas obliged.
And yet it goes so much further than money. Whatever unsavory hometown haunts a man returns to after he achieves a measure of notoriety, there’s something completely disconcerting about this story.
An NBA first-round draft choice, Crittenton, less than two years ago, laid his head on the pillows of Four Seasons and Ritz-Carltons. Today, he is in custody in a homicide case.
A mother of four is gone.
And the hoop dreams of a bright, young kid, who as a teen once lofted alley-oop passes to a gangly Dwight Howard for bedazzling dunks, is all but dead.
What a vicious cycle. From nothing to something. And back to nothing again. What a sinister omen those guns in the locker room may soon turn out to be.
The invisible role player in a superstar’s demise is now the unmistakable suspect in a 22-year-old woman’s murder.
For those of us fixated on only the famous falling from grace the past 20 months, who focused on Gilbert Arenas and forgot Javaris Crittenton, tragic doesn’t begin to cover it.