Back in December 2009, Gilbert Arenas made headlines for drawing a gun in the Wizards' locker room. The incident led to a season-long suspension which has hastened Arenas' decline from a guy who averaged more than 28 PPG in back to back seasons ('05-'06 and '06-'07) to someone who couldn't start for a Magic team that lost in the first round of the playoffs this spring. But things have gone better for Arenas than they have for the other Wizard in that gun incident, Javaris Crittenton. Just like Arenas, Crittenton, now 23, was suspended for the remainder of the 2009-10 season and also received a year of probation on a misdemeanor gun possession charge. Crittenton's NBA career had already started on the wrong foot, as the Wizards were his third team in as many years since being drafted 19th overall in 2007. Crittenton played for the Dakota Wizards of the D-League last season and was busy fading back into obscurity until the news broke this week that Crittenton is the prime suspect in the August 19 murder of Jullian Jones. Jones was gunned down from a black Chevy Tahoe in a drive-by shooting in Crittenton's hometown of Atlanta, and Crittenton was rumored to have been seeking revenge for a jewelry theft that took place on April 21.
Even though Crittenton looked to be on his way out of the league (he hasn't played an NBA game since 2009), reports like this are bad news all around for the NBA and its players. The NBA has already taken plenty of heat for dillydallying around while the lockout continues, and the NBPA certainly won't be pleased that one of their former players is wanted for murder. Up until this point, most of my Rogue of the Week selections have been individuals that have cast the NBA and the game of basketball in a bad light, but this is the first time that a Rogue of the Week has truly cast the human race in a bad light. Drive-by shootings are senseless and have no place in this world. I don't know what Crittenton's financial situation is (he was drafted after his freshman year at Georgia Tech, and young NBA players are notorious for making poor financial decisions), but I can't see how any piece of jewelry could ever be worth another human being's life. It saddens me to hear about events like this, and my hope is that next week I can return to castigating someone for being an idiot or doing something stupid instead of making a decision that results in the loss of life.
Stupid NBA Move of the Week
I was trying to find something to write for this portion of the column and realized that I was in a tough spot since the NBA isn't doing much of anything right now. So this week's Stupid NBA Move is more of a lack of a move--another week without any labor negotiations. Right now, it looks like the leaders on both sides of the labor dispute are about to hold just their second meeting since the lockout began July 1. I'm glad that everyone involved has cleared enough time in their busy schedules of not watching basketball and not playing basketball to come together before Labor Day! I'm no league insider, but I will take an educated guess and say that summer is usually the time of year in which people employed by the NBA are the least busy--there are no games going on, no road trips, no team practices, no arenas that have to be prepared 41 times a season. Obviously a lot of this stuff applies primarily to players, but it should logically apply to those employed by the league since their jobs are based on what happens to each team. There's not a lot more to say here--just get your act together, and that goes for both sides. Training camp is just over a month away, and if the NBA and NBPA can't make some serious headway during the month of September, there are going to be a lot of empty facilities come November.