Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard: Shooting Planksby Christopher C. Wuensch on Jul. 05, 2011, under Sports
Gilbert Arenas isn’t going to take the NBA player lockout lying down.
Er, scratch that. According to the Orlando Magic guard’s Twitter account, he’s doing nothing but lying around.
As is the case with many of the antics of the enigmatic Arenas, the answer probably lies somewhere sandwiched between reality, creativity and insanity.
Meet Gilbert Arenas, a self confessed “Sex Symbol, Comedian and Red-Headed Step-child of the NBA,” or so his Twitter bio would have us believe.
Now he’s adding world-class “Planker” to his – and Orlando Magic teammate Dwight Howard’s — résumé.
Arenas’ return to the “Twitterverse” in early June is good news for us celebrity gawker-types and great news for the charities that benefit from the fines the NBA hands out.
The University of Arizona alum took to the social media world this week to indulge in the Internet’s latest craze: Planking. To successful pull off a plank, one must lie flat, face-down and arms at their sides, on a random surface, like a board. The more bizarre the location of the plank, the better. Let’s allow Gilbert Arenas to demonstrate:
Planking is an off-shoot of Europe’s unspectacularly-named “Lying Down Game.” Eventually it spread across the globe to far-away regions such as South Korea and Australia, where it morphed into “planking.”
Planking isn’t without its perils. A Brisbane man fell seven stories off a balcony to his demise in May, the same month that saw another Australian hospitalized after falling while planking a moving car.
Perhaps seeing some of the submissions his fans shared with him, Arenas issued this warning Tweet…
“All my plankers..we want funny and stupid not dangerous and photo shopped”
Days later, Arenas was stiff as a board and horizontal on a ladder.
Some revel in Arena’s ingenious creativity. Others see a player whose psyche is about as stable as Uranium.
See the face of a giant jungle cat tattoo on his torso, for example.
In June, Arenas — ended his Twitter hiatus after 15 months of cyber silence. He returned with a new handle, but the same old vintage wit.
Among his first Tweets was the announcement of his new self-created nickname: “Jefe” — adding to list of alias that already includes “Agent Zero” and “The Hibachi.”
“Sorry people its jefe not HEFFIE (boss)so I hav a new fishin name. Thx you all for enjoyin the pics and JOKESSSS”
And the planks.
It took Jefe about a week to get slapped with a fine from the NBA.
It was his run-ins with the NBA and the law that saw Arenas exit Twitter in the first place.
The NBA’s 2002-03 Most Improved Player Award winner was suspended by the league midway through the 2009-10 season for allegedly bringing firearms into the Washington Wizards’ locker room after a dispute with then teammate Javaris Crittenton.
Very shortly thereafter, Arenas exited the social media world. At the time, he had more than 24,000 followers. In the month after his return, that number has climbed to 40,400 and rising.
But Arenas’ Twitter numbers and playing stats appear to be going in opposite directions.
The three-time All-Star has appeared in a paltry 117 games (47 of them between the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons) in the last four seasons due to a torn ACL and a 50-game suspension for the aforementioned gun woes.
That’s a far cry from the 2005-06 season when Arenas led the NBA in minutes played (3,384) and set a career-high in points (2,346) and points-per-game (29.3).
The Wizards shipped Arenas to the Magic last season, but he never quite fell into a groove with this new teammates, averaging 8.0 points in a little more than 21 minutes.
Despite the troubles, Arenas still possesses an outside shot that’s more dangerous than Walmart sushi.
He holds the NBA records for most points in an overtime (16) frame and most points (46) scored in under 30 minutes.
He’s one of just 20 players in the history of the NBA to score 60-plus points in a game.
Arenas still has three years and potentially $62 million left on his current contract. Perhaps a full season (if the season happens) in Orlando is just what he needs.
He’s certainly gelling well with his teammates.
Arenas has done plenty of good that goes unnoticed. His “Zero Two Hero Foundation” is approaching its eighth anniversary. The foundation has raised hundreds of thousands toward children’s causes, including $215,000 to the Washington D.C. public school system and $18,000 toward children affected by Hurricane Katrina.
He’s even taken to Twitter to give away the hundreds of game-worn sneakers he’s amassed over the years to his fans.
In the end, Arenas is an entertainer. He relishes in this role. When all is said and done, one day we’ll look back at his body of work and simply say:
Gilbert, planks for the memories.
IN FULL DISCLOSURE: It should be pointed out that the author, Christopher C. Wuensch, is, in fact, also a “Planker.”
- My style has been described as “Penguin-esque.”