Dear Gilbert, You've really blown it now
An open birthday card to Gilbert Arenas:
Happy 28th, Gil. Some great b-day, huh?
A Superior Court grand jury is weighing whether to bring charges against you for bringing guns to work. Even if you plead guilty to a misdemeanor and get community service, NBA Commissioner David Stern will probably start with a 20-game suspension and go from there.
Less than five years after you brought so much magic to town, made pro basketball matter after Michael, it's about over.
You said it best when we spoke Tuesday night: "I should just steal a quote from Batman, when he said, 'I've been around long enough to see myself turn into the bad guy.' " The fans you play for, who used to clamor for your game-worn No. 0 jersey to be tossed to them, now want you gone.
Remember three years ago? The hottest ticket in town was that black American Express envelope, the one that contained an invitation to your 25th birthday party at Love, the club where Sean Combs and other hip-hop glitterati attended. Diddy came to Northeast for you.
The night you threw yourself that million-dollar bash, grabbing the microphone and yelling, "Get drunk and make bad decisions," everybody laughed and went home thinking, "That Gilbert -- he's one quirky cat, but he's got such a good heart. And, man, he can ball with the best of them."
Crazy, no? Those same people want to buy you a ticket out of town today.
Most of your teammates are shaking their heads in disgust, wondering when the turnaround season of hope everyone bought into is going to begin. They always wanted to be on CNN; they just never thought it would be under the heading, "Wild, Wild West in Wizards Locker Room."
Even the Rev. Al Sharpton is backing law enforcement. He told the New York Daily News in Tuesday's editions he wants you severely punished. Reverend Al!
The D.C. police. Fans. Teammates. The black community. And you thought LeBron and Shaq were out to get you Wednesday night in Cleveland.
Now your last bastion of support is wavering. When the franchise Abe Pollin bought in 1964 -- the one entity in town that had your back on every front, through every oddball act or quote -- is whispering behind closed doors -- some actually hoping -- that the Wizards might have the legal right to void what's left on your $111 million contract, there is only question left, Gil: