Though Gilbert Arenas’ foray into competitive video game management has been noted previously by a blogger more dilligent than I, the following report from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg is relevant in light of Agent Zero’s recent protestations that he’s no weirdo. And as much as I like the guy, I’m gonna have to argue. Anyone pulling down as much scratch as Arenas and eats at Denny’s must be nuts.
Dave Walsh (above, right) and the fellow Final Bosses, as has previously been mentioned, were introduced to Gil through Red Bull, one of the team’s other sponsors. They met when Gil was in L.A. filming a commercial, and they convened together in front of a video game screen. Gil was impressed with their skills. Final Boss was…well…
“Compared to tournament players, he’s not so good, but for an NBA player I’d say he’s very good,” Walshy said. “You really do have to put a lot of time into it, and he really can’t put as much time into it, because he has a basketball career.”
(Walshy, for example, spends 30 to 40 hours a week working on his virtual game before big tournaments. So what would happen if he faced off against Gil? “It’d be kind of like me trying to play him in basketball,” Walsh said. “It wouldn’t be pretty.” But the Final Bosses regularly meet Gil online and offer him helpful hints for improving his game.)
Anyhow, Gil heard that Final Boss had a million-dollar sponsorship deal and originally wanted to buy out their contract and own the team, but instead he decided on this sponsorship plan, in which each team member gets a few thousand dollars a month from Gil, plus some fringe benefits.
Like, Adidas jackets and Adidas pants and seven pairs each of customized Adidas sneakers that play off their Halo nicknames and their Halo symbols. Walshy’s symbol, for example, is a wasp, and so he has images of wasps on several of his customized sneakers. Gil has promised that more goodies are on the way.
Plus, he flew down to Orlando and hung out with Final Boss at a tournament. They went to an arcade at a Friday’s and put down some money on a basketball shooting game. Gil won. They also went to a Denny’s and rolled up a tab of $60 or $70, and then Gil dropped a $100 bill as a tip and the waitress came running out of the restaurant to thank him. (“You can tell the guy’s down to earth; he’s happy to help other people,” Walshy said.)
The New York Post’s Peter Vescey correctly surmises that Isiah Thomas’ verbal salvos at Greg Anthony the other day were less about a defense of Renaldo Balkman as a first round pick, and more to do with a not-so-far-fetched conspiracy theory.
Maybe the real reason Thomas has been steaming all these months is because Anthony accused him of setting up Balkman and Mardy Collins (No. 29) with 3-year guaranteed contracts in order to make nice with agent Leon Rose, agent for both. Oh, yeah, he also happens to represent LeBron James.
As you recall, speculation was rampant at the time the Cavs’ savior might not extend his contract, thus he’d be unrestricted to sign with New York, where he could make even more of an advertising killing than he is at present, after two more seasons. Shortly thereafter, James re-enlisted with the Cavs for five more seasons.
Is Thomas bent out of shape because Anthony figured out what he was up to; smart business, in my book. In fact, I conjured the exact same conspiracy when Thomas signed Jamal Crawford and Vin Baker, clients of Aaron Goodwin – James’ agent du jour.
Or is Thomas simply seething because neither his first suspected plot nor the second paid off?