Air Getting Thinner in Gilbert's Arena

The Associated Press
Monday, October 2, 2006; 10:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- Take a deep breath, and get ready for the latest in Gilbertology: Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas is thinning the air in his house.

"I had my house converted to the Colorado altitude, so I am always above sea level," Arenas said Monday at the Wizards annual pre-training camp media day.

Say what? He's going to live at high altitude in the nation's capital?

"You know, that's kind of weird," Arenas said.

He'll get plenty of nods with that statement, but, yep, he's really doing it. Instead of going to the mountains to train _ as some endurance athletes do _ Arenas has hired a company to simulate those conditions in a home environment.

"I had to put a tent in one room, and then they are going to come during training camp and fix the whole house," Arenas said. "Then I have a have a portable tent I'm taking on the road."

Arenas' hopes the living arrangement will give him more energy in the fourth quarter of NBA games, when everyone else is getting tired from breathing the same old heavy air.

"How I start the game is how I finish the game," he said.

There's always something up with Arenas, whether it was his revelation last year that he played online poker during halftimes, or the multitude of ways he finds to keep chips on his shoulders. No wonder coach Eddie Jordan said last week that he hadn't spoken much to Arenas this summer because he could stand only so much "Gilbertology."

Despite the extra-curriculars _ or maybe because of them _ Arenas is one of the best in the game. He was fourth in league in scoring last season, averaging 29.3 points, and made his second consecutive All-Star team.

Even so, there's a feeling he's never really been given his due. That's why he wears the No. 0 _ he was supposed to get zero minutes at the University of Arizona. Yes, he was an All-Star last season, but only as a late replacement for an injured player.

Fuel was added to the fire this summer, when Arenas was among the final cuts for the U.S. world championship team. The convenient excuse was that he had a strained groin, but Arenas said he essentially withdrew after learning that he probably wasn't going to make the team anyway.

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