Gilbert Arenas loves China and won’t return to NBA

In North American NBA circles Gilbert Arenas will always be associated with the locker room debacle that tore down his career with the Washington Wizards. After two fruitless stops with other NBA teams, he has finally found redemption.

Gilbert Arenas

Arenas now plays for another former NBA star Yao Ming who owns the Shanghai Sharks in China. According to an interview with Slam Magazine, he has finally found peace-of-mind.

Unlike some former NBA stars, his transition period was never seriously horrific nor was it a just-add-water fix.

He struggled with injuries and it took him some time to adapt to his new enviroment.

He stated that once the game was taken away from him, he was left a bit shell-shocked.

“You know, that’s all basketball is,” Arenas said. “If someone loves something, and you take it away, it’s like, what does he do now? What does someone do? That’s what happened with me in the last couple of years in the NBA when I went to Orlando, and then I got benched. And I was in Memphis and I wasn’t playing. It was just like, why do I wanna keep doing this? So then when I got the chance to come to China to play…OK! As long as I get to play.”

A key component to his transition was using the Chinese social media outlet Weibo to connect with his fans.

“Weibo started off difficult because of the language barrier,” Arenas said. “I can’t read any of the stuff on it in Chinese. So Gu Young [a trainer with the team] taught me basically how to text, change pictures, like the little things, so I can get by. Looking at it, I figured out more of it. I comment back to the fans who say things in English. The fans have been good, they make me wanna go out and play. They have always been positive; I haven’t seen anything negative at all. That’s a relief.”

Arenas went on to state that there is a sizable difference between the culture that surrounds Weibo and our own Twitter.

“Because you know what? Back in the States, I guess it’s just like, when you’re following somebody…[long pause]…As a fan, what do you expect them to do and say?,” he questioned.  “You don’t want them to be who they are [laughs]. I’m a jokester, so when I was joking on Twitter, it kinda rubbed people the wrong way. And I was like, I didn’t make these up. I’m just letting you know they’re there.

And then they gave high fives to all the players who say like the most obvious textbook answers in the world. It’s like after each game, you already know what they’re going to say. If they lost: “Ahh… Tough loss.” It’s like, come on, how do you guys fall for that? And if they something that they really feel, everyone goes crazy. Like “Oohh! He’s spazzing out!” Now he gotta say sorry for saying something he really felt. It’s like, Oh lord.”

When asked if his eventual bottom-line was an NBA return, Arenas was direct and sure in his answer.

“Nah! [Shakes head vehemently] Because after this season I can enjoy my family,” Arenas said. “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.

He also pointed out another reason why China holds more luster for him at this point in his life.

” 32 games a year,” Arenas stated. “Maximum 36 minutes. That’s all I need at this point in my career. So as long as China teams want me, I’ll be here.”

He also let it be known that he appreciates the Sharks for riding with him through all of his ups and downs.

“Yeah, you know, that’s all that it was about,” he said. “Even this year, in the beginning, I was thinking when I got hurt that this has been going on for the last three years of my career. Some little ticky-tack injuries been keeping me out for long periods of time and I’m getting benched. So when Yao decided that he wasn’t going to cut me, he was going to keep me, I was like, Thank you Lord! I can’t wait ’til I get on the court to show that I can actually play at a high level. So I’m just happy that he gave me the opportunity.