Gilbert Arenas, you may have heard, is facing some difficulties in his life. Reports put him in the Washington Wizards' locker room at some point in December with multiple guns; he could have his contract voided if he is convicted of a felony in this case; and he expressed remorse for "bad judgment" in comments to reporters after last night's game, noting that he has to talk to the authorities on Monday.
But after the game was over and Gil's time with the media was done, he turned to Twitter. His first tweets came earlier this week, but what transpired over his longest use of the service so far -- two hours of early Sunday morning tweeting -- was both revealing of his character and a reminder of the unique orbit that Gilbert Arenas inhabits.
He began by responding to critics wondering why he was tweeting by firing off the tweet above, explaining that he was not having a meltdown and would instead paint a picture of himself to enlighten -- which he did, in great detail, with candor and humor and the sort of bracing authenticity I forget is possible from people worth millions of dollars.
The following are all tweets, some paraphrased, from Arenas last night, text linked to each statement. All spelling and grammar is left in the original.
â‡¥â‡¥"i dont do drug i dont drink i dont leave my house unless i really need to so for the most part my life is simple..but what i do do is watch" "alot of comedy.so since i was a kid everything was funny to me.i turned every bad situation into a joke thats how i dealt with pain" "so when people think in havin a melt down.. im just tellin jokes to keep myself from getting depressed..becuz LAUGHTER CURES PAIN"
â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥"i guess everyone wants me to act like the rest of the nba twitters players...(i bought a shirt today from the mall)(practice was tough 2 day" "(coach said heâ‡¥likes my high socks lol lol)(we had a close game today) is that reallyâ‡¥who u wanna follow..sounds a little boring to me"â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥
â‡¥â‡¥"the day the shaq story broke..we were on the bus and we drove by legal sea food and i yelled out imma go get sum fish who wants sum" "and bwood yelled back i think u got a bigger fish to fry right now and said cannn u dig it...we all laugh ..so just imagine the jokes now"â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥
â‡¥â‡¥"i can spell but when u hav 140 to work with u hav too cut ur words short...i was in college at 16 sweetie i do hav sum brains" "@myboookofrhymes i said i went at 16 i didnt say i did well in college lol"â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥
â‡¥â‡¥"scared of whats going on around me...naw i dont get shaken up in my life outside basketball..cant live in fear of sumthing that hasnt" "happened yet...its easy to hide from ur problem but a real person dont break character when thing arent going his or her way"â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥
And, I suppose, that's Gilbert for you: A self-effacing star with the self-confidence to espouse his theories about fun and entertainment with the pressure of serious legal ramifications at his back. He is not serious enough to be poker-faced, too smart to be truly reckless, and naturally funny enough to be consistently compelling.
He's a perfect fit on Twitter, and, if he chooses, could probably continue to use it and cut out the media as his case evolves, rebutting the gravity of accusations that could lead to years in jail and millions lost in salary with more jokes, just because it's his style. But even if he doesn't, he'll be a must-follow, once more assuming the role of a rare bird in sports: A player both riveting enough to be worth following off the field of play, and unpretentious enough to permit it.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.