Pro Basketball

Despite All-Star Appearance, Arenas in Limbo With Adidas

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas played the fewest minutes of any player at the NBA All-Star Game at Houston's Toyota Center on Sunday, but it was enough time for Arenas to make a statement that could jeopardize his future with his shoe company, Adidas. For his entire 9 minutes 51 seconds on the court, Arenas covered the words "Adidas" on his red, white and blue sneakers with pieces of tape that had the No. 0 written in red ink.

"We're in a negotiation period right now and, just like everything else, I'm at the bottom end of negotiations," Arenas said after scoring one point in the game. "So, I decided, 'Hey, I'll leave the three stripes, but I'll cover up the Adidas.' . . . A silent protest."

Arenas, the league's fourth-leading scorer at 28.3 points per game, signed a multiyear deal with Adidas in December 2003 but he said his contract allowed him to negotiate a new deal if he made two all-star appearances. Arenas, who made his second consecutive all-star appearance this season after NBA Commissioner David Stern selected him as an injury replacement, said he was supposed to meet with his shoe company during the all-star weekend, but the meeting never happened.

"They didn't show up, so that indicates there is nothing to talk about," he said. "There is nothing you can do about it, but accept it. I just did my little part."

Arenas has been seeking a better deal and more exposure from Adidas, which used him for an advertising campaign with Detroit's Chauncey Billups and Portland's Sebastian Telfair last season. The all-tar game is typically a huge marketing and promotional affair for shoe companies. Attempts to reach a spokesperson from Adidas yesterday were unsuccessful.

-- Michael Lee

© 2006 The Washington Post Company