Javaris Crittenton is wanted in connection with a murder investigation for the murder of a mother of four in downtown Atlanta. As one would assume to be the case, the former NBA player is bringing about plenty of reaction from all around the web regarding his latest bout with the law.
Crittenton, a 23-year-old former first round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, has had a rather difficult fall from grace -- both in his personal life as well as on the basketball court -- over the course of the last three years.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley wrote an editorial Saturday morning looking back at the Atlanta native's brief basketball career. Beginning with Crittenton starring alongside Dwight Howard in high school, starring for one season at Georgia Tech and eventually being selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, Crittenton's upbringing isn't one that typically leaves players in this sort of situation.
At such a distressing moment, it would be convenient to blame basketball for the wrong turns in Crittenton's 23-year-old life. But there's free will involved in every life, is there not? He has had role models. He was around successful people and winning programs. He was a good student who was thought to have leadership qualities. And he had, owing to having been a Round 1 draftee, a guaranteed contract.
Give some people those circumstances and they'd make the most of them. Crittenton has made the least.
Crittenton's NBA career wasn't as squeaky-clean as his amateur career, however, as those that recall "Gungate" -- involving Crittenton and teammate Gilbert Arenas both being charged for brandishing handguns in the Washington Wizards locker room -- will surely remember.
Bullets Forever's Mike Prada was front and center during that period of Crittenton's career, having covered the Wizards for SB Nation, and he posted the reaction from his side on Saturday morning.
Finally, the news has been weird for me to process because Crittenton was one of the guys I talked to most when covering the team my first year. Because he was recovering from injury, he was always lingering around before players were made available, and he was an easy guy to pass the time talking to during those down moments. I remember him being upset with how the Wizards handled his foot injury, which prevented him from building on a promising end to the previous season, but he always did his best to put on a happy face.
I remember talking to Crittenton about his injury a month later. He was lingering in the locker room, and I called him over to get an update. He had this big smile on his face when he answered my questions, which seemed a bit odd to me. In the middle of the interview, Antawn Jamison came over to him, tapped him on the shoulder and gave him this weird look. "Why you talkin' like that," Jamison said at the time, wondering, like me, why Crittenton was so excited to talk about an injury. Given what's transpired now, it's still really jarring that someone who seemed so easygoing and cheerful when I saw him be accused of a crime this serious.
The entire column from Prada is worth reading, but the above is an interesting summary of Prada's personal interaction with a man now involved in a murder investigation. SB Nation Atlanta's Jason Kirk also posted a good read on Crittenton for those looking for even more reaction.
All in all, it's a terribly sad thing whenever a mother of four is murdered and that's what should be kept at the forefront when following the current allegations. The fact that a recent NBA player is involved just makes it a bit more jarring to those involved in the world of sports.