Gilbert Arenas is back. Sort of. His season in China playing for the Shanghai Sharks, owned by former NBA center Yao Ming, went by unnoticed by most. He got injured in his very first game and only played in just shy of half the games dealing with a groin injury, that sidelined him for most of the first half of the season. He played in the last 11 games and showed flashes of the old Agent Zero, scoring 45 points one game, 12 points in 2 minutes once, and a game-winner. He rebounded more and ended the season averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists a game, wearing the familiar number 0.
In China, he goes by the Chinese name is Gi Le and he has embraced his fans. He can be seen walking around town, something that foreign players don’t do too often in China. He interacts with the fans on their popular social network, even with the language barrier. He gives away tickets to home games, just like he did when he gave away Wizard tickets. And you can bet he is up to his old tricks and pranks with his new teammates as well.
Will we see Gilbert back in the NBA? Don’t count on it. His days sitting on the bench with the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies made him question why he wanted to keep playing. In China, he has managed to revive his career much like how former NBA players Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady have done. He gets to play longer minutes and has a green light at the basket. Sure he doesn’t have the private planes and luxury hotels on the road but a shorter season lets him enjoy the summer with his family, something he didn’t get a chance to do while in the NBA. When Slam Online asked him if he has any plans or hopes to tryout with the NBA again, Arenas answered
“Nah! [Shakes head vehemently] Because after this season I can enjoy my family. You know my kids are getting older. Being in the NBA, you don’t really get to enjoy your family life because you’re always on the road, you’re always gone. So, no. After this season will be the first time I’ll get to be with my kids for a long period of time.”
Most important of all, Arenas is happy where he is at and while fans from the States won’t be able to witness his play live, there is always YouTube.