Arenas sorry for Team USA vent; thins air in house
"I had my house converted to the Colorado altitude, so I am always above sea level," Arenas said Monday at the Wizards annual pre-training camp media day.
Say what? He's going to live at high altitude in the nation's capital?
"You know, that's kind of weird," Arenas said.
He'll get plenty of nods with that statement, but, yep, he's really doing it. Instead of going to the mountains to train -- as some endurance athletes do -- Arenas has hired a company to simulate those conditions in a home environment.
"I had to put a tent in one room, and then they are going to come during training camp and fix the whole house," Arenas said. "Then I have a portable tent I'm taking on the road."
Arenas hopes the living arrangement will give him more energy in the fourth quarter of NBA games, when everyone else is getting tired from breathing the same old heavy air.
"How I start the game is how I finish the game," he said.
There's always something up with Arenas, whether it was his revelation last year that he played online poker during halftimes, or the multitude of ways he finds to keep chips on his shoulders. No wonder coach Eddie Jordan said last week that he hadn't spoken much to Arenas this summer because he could stand only so much "Gilbertology."
Despite the extra-curriculars -- or maybe because of them -- Arenas is one of the best in the game. He was fourth in league in scoring last season, averaging 29.3 points, and made his second consecutive All-Star team.
Even so, there's a feeling he's never really been given his due. That's why he wears the No. 0 -- he was supposed to get zero minutes at the University of Arizona. Yes, he was an All-Star last season, but only as a late replacement for an injured player.
Fuel was added to the fire this summer, when Arenas was among the final cuts for the U.S. world championship team. The convenient excuse was that he had a strained groin, but Arenas said he essentially withdrew after learning that he probably wasn't going to make the team anyway.
Shortly afterward, Arenas vented his frustration, telling The Washington Post that he was going to exact revenge on Team USA assistant coaches Nate McMillan and Mike D'Antoni by scoring 100 points each on their respective teams, Portland and Phoenix.
On Monday, Arenas apologized -- not a bad idea if he wants to make the Olympic team in two years.
"I said some things, and I vented out against Phoenix and Portland, but those teams actually had nothing to do with anything," Arenas said. "That was wrong of me. I really want to say sorry for it and I want to say sorry to Mike D'Antoni. That was the immature Gilbert two months ago. I'm growing as a person, and I'm ready to be a leader for the Washington Wizards."
Even so, Arenas said the snub means he will be more motivated this year.
"There always someone out there who keeps me going," he said, "and I like it."
Washington teammate Antawn Jamison, who made the U.S. team, was disappointed that Arenas went public after getting cut. Then again, Jamison admitted, the snub will probably help the Wizards.
"Once again, he found a way to have a chip on his shoulder, and its going to be exciting to see what he pulls out of the hat this year," Jamison said.
That wasn't all of the Arenas news Monday. He's on huge new downtown billboard -- "Every kid, every NBA player dreams of having their own billboard up," he said -- and he said he got himself in shape for training camp with a week of boot camp with "a military dude in San Francisco."
The regimen included running up and down the city's steep hills, sometimes on soft sand with 40-pound medicine balls.
"I wanted to cry a couple of times," Arenas said. "While you're doing it, you're like, 'This is murder. This guy is killing me.' As soon as you're down, I was like 'Wow, I feel energized.'"
Just wait until he tries the same workout in his high-altitude house.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press