Arenas's Scores Big With Schools
Thursday, November 9, 2006
The dollars are adding up already for area schools selected by Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas and team owners Abe and Irene Pollin to receive $100 for every point the two-time All-Star scores this season.
Arenas chose 41 schools last week, one for each home game this season, as part of his Gilbert Scores for Schools program. Impressed by the gesture of the young player, the Wizards owners matched the offer and chose another 41 schools for the away games.
Tyler Elementary School in Southeast was first on the list and is slated to receive $700 for Arenas's performance in the season opener Nov. 1 at Cleveland.
Arenas, the fourth-leading scorer in the league last year (29.5 points per game), struggled to find his shot early in the game and did not score until the final minutes of the third quarter. He finished with seven points as the Wizards lost to the Cavaliers, 97-94.
Tyler Principal Michelle Pierre-Farid, unaware her school had been selected, said she did not watch the game but was pleasantly surprised to learn the school will receive a $700 donation.
"We can at least get one more laptop," Pierre-Farid said. "We have two, and we're trying to get to 20."
Arenas found his rhythm in Saturday's home opener, scoring 44 points against the Boston Celtics in a 124-117 Wizards victory. He will make a $4,400 donation to Neelsville Middle School in Montgomery County.
Neelsville Principal Dollye McClain said she screamed when she got the news. McClain said a portion of the money will be used to start a drumline in the school's music program.
"I truly appreciate what he's done for our school," McClain said.
Of the 82 schools selected for the program, 29 are in the District, 19 are in Montgomery County, 15 are in Prince George's County, eight are in Arlington County, six are in Alexandria, four are in Fairfax County and one is in Howard County.
"I have a chance to actually give back in this life," Arenas said. "When my career is over, I want people to remember me for what I did off the court as well as what I did on the court."
Arenas entered the NBA as a second-round draft pick in 2001. He is in the fourth year of a six-year, $65 million contract signed in August 2003 as a restricted free agent to join the Wizards. He is expected to gross more than $11 million from his NBA salary this season.