Gilbert Arenas measured up as a rival to LeBron about as well as Ricky Davis did as a sidekick. This is unfair to a player as good as Gil who, had he not self-medicated a torn-up knee with packing tape and a staple gun, would probably be out here killing, since he was a shorter, stronger Jamal Crawford with like 20 percent Dwyane mixed in, and Jamal will play until he’s 50, but this is what happens when you voice over your on-court highlights by (allegedly) shitting in sneakers and pulling a gun on your teammates. (The Gil-Javaris locker room standoff is one of the more perplexing sports moments of my lifetime, in that everyone just kind of got over it. Imagine this happening today—Russ drawing down on Reggie Jackson last year for fucking up the dap line or some shit. We’d be on that for YEARS. That’s as certain of evidence as the universe can offer that no one will ever give a shit about Washington sports.) Anyway, given the rep, when Gil throws up an incendiary LeBron James take on Instagram, you might reflexively just laugh him off and send him back to the carnival. But give it a closer read and it’s a capsule of exactly the reason he stuck around the league despite being a crazy person.
Here’s the blurb, annotated:
KINGJAMES.....this person comes around once in a blue moon...a man whos so physically gifted he could walk into any sport and be a HOF’ER off his natural (God given ability) last person who was this gifted in sports might have been #BOJackson...
Sure. This is a fine start.
LET’S take away EVERY STAT and start from scratch..#NATURAL gifts...6-8..275..44 inch vert...once at top speed can’t be stopped...vision like magic johnson..a natural #LEFTY who plays basketball as a righty....him stepping on a nba floor with no effort stats are 25 6 7...
I’m not sure how taking away all of LeBron’s stats and then spotting him his exact line and saying it requires no effort on his part is fair, but... I mean, it does feel like LeBron could run up that 25-6-7 in his pajamas. Let’s at least see where this is going?
now his WEAKNESSES he had to work on to be the G.O.A.T...James is more like a train then a cheetah in movement.. his first 2 steps aren’t very powerful so this hurt him on iso’s and the ability to blow pass players from standstill position...hints why he’s at the point he needs to be moving at all time so when he decides to attack he’s already in full motion...he doesnt change direction well becuz he doesn’t bend much he plays str8 up and down like #jkidd did which limits him from cross overs and spinning...
And this is more a insightful, better observed summary of LeBron’s game than basically any on-air analyst runs out when they talk about LeBron. Gilbert never had the tools of a traditional star guard in the NBA, and got by on fine skills, but also by seeing the angles. LeBron holding the ball on ISOs far from the rim or running constant motion inflect his game much more than moxie or guile or whatever the balls Reggie Miller is going on about. These things are informed by the limitations of his physique, which, even though it’s the best basketball vessel in the observable universe, is not perfect, and is better at some things than others. This is good basketball writing.
James isn’t a #1option..
and yes I (didn’t stutter)
Gil, man, you were doing so well.
he lacks#selfishness so he will always need a go to guy like wade was or kyrie.. he lacks what jordan and kobe were..great 1 on 1 players... he needs a pure scorer beside him so he can carry the TEAM load...
I mean this isn’t even wrong—LeBron can be your best scorer, but he’s an all-court fixer and best used plugging every hole your stupid roster springs, because he’s good at everything—but that isn’t what Gil is saying here. Dammit.
he gets bashed alot by media becuz he doesn’t take over like #MJ or #KB but#LBJ is MAGIC with Jordan like athleticism..so he walks into stats without trying and when forced he will give u 41 12 8...the finals was the first time in his career he was physically pushed to the limit becuz he had no one to defur to...when players like magic,Barkley and analysis bash him I cringe...like u ppl have no idea what he could do if he had (1) season just 1 selfish season like kobe did in 2005-06 he will avg 40+ 11 9 and no one could do shit about it...
I can’t even tell if this is a compliment to Kobe and a burn on LeBron, or a burn on Kobe and praise for LeBron, or if he is somehow sticking it to both of them at once for doing exactly opposite things. (He is.)
it’s sad the world wont get to see Who I’m talking about becuz his legacy is built on winning...if u doubt what I’m saying..look at every game he was pissed off and was challenged....this man could be the second best 3rd for sure player to ever play when it’s all said and done around 2020+and he didn’t even tap into his ability to be GREATEST..
I think Gilbert is just mad that LeBron doesn’t play every game like this year’s Finals. But while LeBron was great in that series despite what whinnying, first-cut efficiency-humpers might tell you, the outburst came out of the necessity of his shit-ass team and their needs (and specializations) on offense, and if LeBron had played like that on his Miami teams, there’s no telling if it would have sunk the team.
Still, this is perfect Gilbert. The guy still knows his basketball, and more importantly, he still knows how to troll his enemies’ nuts off.
Photo via Getty