The Wizards And The Wire: A Different Rendition

You might have expected another missive on Gilbert Arenas here, but frankly, it really makes no sense to me, and the whole discussion has become tedious and oversaturated with bombastic opinions on a situation that’s far too nuanced for that kind of coherence. Or maybe that’s just my excuse for not writing about it.

In any case, rather than waste your time with more clumsinesss, I figured we’d let The Wire sort it out. What follows is a different rendition of what’s happened with the Washington Wizards, as told by quotes from the greatest television show in history. Apologies in advance for the language.


It all started with a card game that reportedly took place on Saturday, December 19th. The game was called bourre, a favorite among NBA players, and a game in which the rules are often a matter of dispute. The characters in question are Javale McGee, Gilbert Arenas, and Javaris Crittendon. There were probably other players, too, but those are just the random extras to the story, destined to remain in the background and look cooler, tougher than the rest of us. Without further ado…

McGee: “I don’t know about cards, but uh… I think these 4-5s beat a Full House.” (Omar)

Arenas: “There’s rules to this here game, son.” (Prop Joe)

McGee: “We gon’ handle this sh*t like business men.” (Stringer)

Crittendon: (whistling) (Omar)

Arenas: “The game ain’t in me no more. None of it. … Ayo banker cash me out, yo!” (Cutty … Omar)

Crittendon: “The game is the game, yo. … That’s my money.” (Everyone … Marlo)

Arenas: “Money don’t got owners! Only spenders.” (Omar)

Crittendon: “We used to make sh*t in this country. Build sh*t. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.” (Frank Sobotka)

Arenas: “No offense, son. But that’s some weak ass thinking. You equivocatin’ like a mothaf**ka.” (Bubbles)

Arenas: “See the king, stay the king. Pawns, man. They get capped quick.” (D’Angelo Barksdale)

(Arenas gets up, walks away from card game)

Crittendon: “Unless they some smart ass pawns.” (Bodie Broadus)

With those chilling last words, the dispute was over. But as anyone on the plane can attest, the conflict was not going to end there. The next day, Sunday the 20th, both men were compelled to act, only to pause…

Arenas: “Sunday truce been around as long as the game itself. I mean, you can do some sh*t and be like what the f**k, but never on no Sunday man.” (Avon Barksdale)

Crittendon: “Sunday truce been around as long as the game itself. I mean, you can do some sh*t and be like what the f**k, but never on no Sunday man.” (Avon Barksdale)

The next day, on Monday the 21st, it all came to a head in the locker room…

Arenas: (lays out guns, joking) “Just say the word, Slim. Just say the mothaf**kin word!” (Boadie Broadus)

Crittendon: “You play in the dirt, you get dirty. … (starts whistling, draws gun)” (Mcnulty … Omar)

Arenas: “I see you favor a .45.” (Brother Muzone)

Crittendon: “Tonight I do. And I keeps one in the chamber in case you ponderin.” (Omar)

Crittendon: “Let’s bang out.” (Omar)

(Crittendon loads gun)

Arenas: “Do you know who I am? You just a boy!” (Victor, Marlo’s money man)

Crittendon: (eyeing Arenas’ surgically repaired knee) “And that’s just a knee!”

Crittendon’s inner monologue: “This here is some assassination sh*t… Damn, I don’t know.” (Slim Charles)

And with that, the situation was mercifully diffused. It’s unclear how, exactly, both sides emerged unscathed. But then, how did Omar survive the jump from five stories up? Some things, we’ll just never know. But a week later, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey would play Scott Templeton, and emerge with a scandalous—and specious—report detailing what happened in the Washington Wizards locker room. And though he’d come under fire from colleagues, Vescey refused to back off from his report…

Every other reporter: “Our job is to report the news, not to manufacture it!” (Gus Haynes)

Peter Vescey: “F**k you Gus!” (Scott Templeton)

And indeed, true or not, Vescey’s report sparked a whirlwind of drama for everyone involved. Namely, Wizards fans…

Wizards fans: “It’s a thin line between heaven and hell.” (Bubbles)

Arenas: “You think I’m goin down, don’t ya? You think I’m done? All y’all ungrateful b**ches thinking you can throw me out the boat!”(Clay Davis)

Crittendon: (blatantly lies to press) “Yo this MY corner. I ain’t runnin nowhere!”  (Boadie Broadus)

Ernie Grunfeld, to Arenas: “You put fire to everything you touch, and then you walk alway while it burns.” (Lester Freamon)

NBA Offices: This scene.

Kendrick “Bookie Ball” Long: If Snoop could get a part on The Wire, why not me? (Bookie Ball)

Arenas, asked about Commissioner Stern: “I’m scared of him. He’s mean.” (Arenas, himself)

Stern, to Arenas: “Let’s be clear. When I f**k you over you will know it. You’ll be so Goddamn certain you won’t even have to ask the question.” (Lt. Rawls)

Immediately, the Wizards began contemplating voiding Arenas’ $111 million contract…

Wizards fans, management: “Just… Dream with me, String.” (Avon Barksdale)

Ziller: “The Gods will not save you.” (Stanley Burrell)

Wizards fans: “No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.” (Roman Pryzbylewski)

Soon, Commissioner Stern suspended him with vigor and disgust that some deemed unfair. And the rest of us? Well, we were left to contemplate the morality of it all…

David Stern: “Possession of a handgun, possession of a concealed weapon, assault by pointing. … This is what you do. You walk the streets … with a gun, taking what you want, when you want it. … This is who you are. Why believe anything you say? In fact, you are exactly the kind of person who would, if you felt you needed to, shoot a man down on a project parking lot, and then lie to the police about it. Would you not? You are ammoral, are you not? You are a parasite.” (Maurice Levy)

Wizards management, in complete agreement: “He did so without properly informing his superior officers, without regard to the criminal statutes, thereby disgracing himself, and his command.” (William Rawls)

Wizards fans: “Ain’t yall ever wonder if he even deserve any of this?” (Mike)

Wizards management: “Deserve got nothin to do with it. It’s his time, that’s all.” (Snoop)

Arenas, to Players’ Association President Billy Hunter: “You gon’ help huh? You gon’ look out for me? You mean it? You gon’ look out for ME? You promise? You got my back, huh?” (Randy Wagstaff)

Should we let Arenas play?

“Got to. This is America, man.” (uncredited)



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