Gilbert Arenas joined Brendan Haywood & Ryan Hollins on an episode of The Opinionated 7-Footers Podcast and told an unheard story regarding his 2007 MCL injury.
The story of the injury actually started during a 40-plus point outing Gilbert had early in his career with the Wizards after being a few minutes late to shootaround. He then became superstitious, as Eddie Jordan let him continue his untimely pregame routine on back-to-backs for three straight years.
The tardiness was eventually ended during a home & home vs the Bobcats when Gilbert questioned why Jordan was changing rotations right before a potential 2007 playoff run. He mentioned that the coach stopped giving Haywood consistent minutes in a season where his team’s success earned him a chance to coach the East All-Stars.
The next day before Gilbert showed up late to their second game against Charlotte, Jordan discussed a starting lineup with his team that didn’t include Arenas. Gilbert walked into the locker room to a blank white board with no starters written down. He seemed confused, until DeShawn Stevenson asked Jordan if they were going to use the new lineup they just talked about.
Arenas hit the showers immediately after finding out he wasn’t starting while the entire Washington team took the court for warm ups. He was set to go home, but teammate Caron Butler convinced him to play. Unfortunately, the situation became worse as Gilbert tore his MCL coming off the bench that game and also heard from players that Eddie Jordan was glad he got hurt.
(Via The Opinionated 7-Footers):
Brendan Haywood: “The 46 points against the Spurs you were late. From that point on, any time we had a back-to-back with a shootaround, Gil would purposely come late. You could literally see Gil’s car circling the building as he was going to be late.”
Gilbert Arenas: “Eddie Jordan decided he wanted to play mind games with Brendan. Why are we still messing with our lineup? At this point, there’s 10 games before the playoffs.”
“I guess he had a meeting with Antonio Daniels & DeShawn that I wasn’t going to start because I was going to be late. Three years this is my routine. So I start taking my s*** off.”
“Caron Butler came back and said, ‘You got to play, this is about us.’ He convinces me to go out there. One minute into the game, I hit my knee.”
“This is how wild it got after this, I boycotted the team playoffs because I heard this. He had a meeting with DeShawn & Antonio and said, ‘I’m glad he got hurt, I don’t need a guy out there trying to score 50 points anyway.’ That’s what really had us buck.”