- Arenas wore a remarkably similar expression to this one at his Media Day appearance today (Photo: Associated Press)
The Washington Wizards are about eight-and-a-half hours away from starting their 2010 training camp at George Mason University. If you were planning on going to the scheduled 10:00 p.m. pep rally, don't bother--it's been canceled.
But before doing any of that, the Wizards had to meet with the local media who will be covering them for the next six months, as the Verizon Center hosted Media Day, a once in a lifetime chance to see dozens of local journos (myself among them) follow Gilbert Arenas around the Verizon Center's practice floor as he got various official pictures taken.
Disconcerting, I know. But there were a couple of juicy nuggets unearthed this afternoon:
-Gilbert Arenas spoke to the media with the resigned, morose expression of someone whose very beloved, very old, and very ill cat has just died. This was understandable, given what happened to him over the past ten months, but it was an oddly jarring experience nonetheless. The soft-spoken Arenas explained his expression when he said, "The only place I want to smile is on the court. That's where my job is, there's where my love is." We'll see how he looks when the clock hits midnight tonight.
-Al Thornton revealed that he'd lost ten pounds in the offseason by cutting chicken, steak and pork out of his diet. "Just fish," he said. I can only admire his willpower.
-There was a large contingent of Chinese media here to see Yi Jianlian. His photoshoot also produced the most amusing exchange of the day, when the Wizards photographer said, "All the girls back in China will be going nuts over these." The usually stoic Yi (who does speak some English, as well as Mandarin and Cantonese) barely cracked a smile.
-John Wall was the last person to come onto the practice court for pictures and media appearances. His various photo shoots lasted about 25 minutes, by far the longest of any player.
-What does Wizards head coach Flip Saunders do during the offseason? John Wall spent some time with Saunders in Minnesota this summer and has the answer.
"He eats a lot," Wall said. "When he wasn't working out, he was watching TV and eating chips."
So, there you have it. All of the tension and drama of Media Day in convenient bite-size chunks. I'll be out at George Mason tonight, and I hope to see some of you out there as well.