There’s a lot of talk in sports media about how the game has gone from being pure to being all about entertainment—and it’s true. But it’s not just in the broadcast booth: from the fans at the game to the players on the court, we’ve all gotten softer, funnier, and more concerned with our self-image than ever before. Not to mention the fact that we had to endure a playoff debacle in which we couldn’t root for our own team to win.
A few years ago, I was having a long chat with a friend over the phone about the difficulties of writing a feature story on the local football team. We were joking around and I said, “Well, you know we’re going to have to remember to call the team the ‘U-wanna-bet’ tomorrow.”
Given that you are reading this (probably) on a major blog with a seriously long name, it should be no surprise that I’m not exactly a newbie. I’ve been writing a blog since December 2010 (finally got around to mentioning it here), and over the years I’ve built up a pretty good following of readers (I’m not famous, but who knows, maybe I’ll be one day). ***I’d like to say that at least some of my readers are good people, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s not true.*** I get emails all the time asking for advice on how to lose weight, cut down on alcohol
Kobe Bryant had a reputation as a tough competitor who was more than capable of taking over a game on his own during his tenure in the NBA. While this instilled terror and respect, Gilbert Arenas was always one to follow his own set of rules. That expressed itself as an unimaginable act once: Agent Zero trash-talked Kobe.
Bryant, as one would imagine, was not able to ignore such comments. Despite having to wait two months, the Black Mamba was able to extract some severe vengeance on Arenas.
Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant were both great basketball players with opposing reputations.
Bryant and Arenas were two guards who could fill the stat sheet on any given night throughout the 2000s. Their reputations, on the other hand, could not be more different.
Kobe came to Hollywood with the goal of following in Michael Jordan’s footsteps, and he did a fairly decent job of it overall. He had plenty of on-court success — the guard averaged 25.0 points per game throughout his career and won five championships — and, like his role model, he developed a tireless work ethic. Bryant’s Mamba Mentality, which included rigorous training, an obsessive emphasis on self-improvement, and an overall drive to be the greatest, made him renowned.
Arenas, on the other hand, had an uncanny ability to light up the scoreboard. Agent Zero was one of the purest scorers in the league during his peak, scoring 29.3 points per game during the 2005-06 regular season and 34.0 points per game in the playoffs. Despite all of this, the Arizona product has acquired a less-than-stellar reputation. He was a bit of a prankster who notoriously carried firearms into the locker room of the Washington Wizards.
Arenas’ career is in some ways typified by the gun incident and subsequent suspension. Despite his on-court abilities, most fans will remember the guard for his bad decision more than anything else.
Experiencing the repercussions of insulting the Black Mamba
In NBA action, Gilbert Arenas (L) and Kobe Bryant (R) battle head-to-head. | Getty Images/G Fiume
Arenas stepped up in December 2006, scoring 60 points in a victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. Agent Zero was naturally pleased with himself after the game.
On an edition of Wizards Postgame Live (H/T NBC Sports), Brendan Haywood stated, “Once [Arenas] hit 60, Gil became a bit mouthy.” “We’re on the team aircraft, and Caron Butler is talking to Kobe, and Gil starts trashing him. ‘If you’re the Black Mamba, then my new moniker is the Black Mongoose,’ he says Kobe.
Mongooses are well-known for their abilities to combat deadly snakes. Kobe, on the other hand, was not going to let himself be defeated in figurative battle, even if it meant waiting a long time to avenge himself.
‘Keep the same enthusiasm when [I] arrive to D.C.,’ Kobe remarked. Haywood remembered something. “I assumed Kobe had forgotten. I wasn’t even thinking about it two months later when I put my hand out, and [Kobe] went right by me. He went up to Gil, smacked him on the buttocks, and told him, “Remember you asked for this, and make sure you protect me the way I’m going to guard you.” He awarded us 45 points, the most heinous ones I’ve ever seen. He accomplished everything, even the 360 dunk with the plane.”
While Haywood may have overstated Bryant’s performance, the Lakers guard did show up on that fateful February night to play. He led Los Angeles to a 118-102 win by scoring 39 points.
As of 2020, Gilbert Arenas still held Kobe Bryant in high esteem.
In isolation, it’s understandable to believe Arenas had a vendetta towards Kobe. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, particularly a professional athlete. Bryant’s actions, on the other hand, didn’t appear to concern Agent Zero.
Arenas went to Instagram shortly after Bryant’s tragic passing to share a remembrance of the Lakers great. Very than reminiscing about their playing days, he shared a photo of himself and Kobe in the bowels of the Staples Center with a rather personal message.
The former Wizard responded, “I will do the job u asked from me in this image.” “You advised me to put my brilliant basketball intellect to work teaching youngsters or on an NBA/college bench… Stop wasting your time on social media by being a moron… Today is my first day as a coach with @socalcavs 14u. #mambamentality: ‘the legacy of an assassin’s mind will live on.’ He also sent logistical information for anyone interested in joining the squad.
For basketball fans, Kobe Bryant was a towering presence who dominated the game. On and off the court, Gilbert Arenas has personal familiarity with this reality.
Basketball-Reference provided the statistics.
To beat Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant was sometimes dubbed the “Caramel Cat.”
The Boston Red Sox are close to being the greatest sports franchise in all of history. Their most recent accomplishments include a World Series win in 2013 and another in 2004. But, they don’t stop there: the Red Sox also boast 4 World Series titles, 14 World Series appearances, and 18 American League pennants. But, what might surprise many is this: the Red Sox have never won a championship in the National League. You know, the league that they left in the 1970s to become the Red Sox.. Read more about i remember you and let us know what you think.
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