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In New Memoir, Caron Butler Tells Inside Story of Gilbert Arenas Gun Incident That Tore Wizards Apart
Everybody knows that Gilbert Arenas was suspended for the second half of the 2009-10 NBA season for storing guns in his Verizon Center locker. However, until now, few people knew the whole story.
In his new memoir Tuff Juice, which came out on Wednesday, former Wizards forward Caron Butler talks mostly about his rough childhood and teen years on the streets of Racine, Wisconsin. However, he also talks about the infamous Gilbert Arenas gun incident. And it turns out that the situation was a lot more serious than some idiot just bringing guns to work.
According to Butler, on a team flight back to Washington from Phoenix, Arenas and Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton got into an argument over an $1,100 poker hand. Apparently Crittenton thought he’d won, but Arenas, the guy with the $111 million contact, thought he’d won. So he took the money and refused to give it back.
Butler says he talked to Arenas about giving the money back and told both men to calm down. But the argument continued after the plane landed and was still going on when the players boarded the bus that would take them to their cars.
It was on the bus that things took a turn for the worse:
“I’ll see your [expletive] at practice and you know what I do,” Gilbert said.
“What the [expletive] you mean, you know what I do?” replied Javaris.
“I play with guns.”
“Well I play with guns, too.”
Two days later, as Wizards players arrived at the Verizon Center for practice, the argument between Arenas and Crittenton came to a head:
“Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”
“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”
He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.
At that point, everyone else fled the locker room, but Butler stayed behind to try to talk some sense into Arenas and Crittenton.
Obviously, Butler succeeded in de-escalating the tension, because nobody got shot. But he says he knew that incident had changed everything:
I knew this was the end of the Washington franchise as we had known it. With Mr. Pollin gone, a new regime coming in, and the image of the team shattered by guns that weren’t even fired, it was time to tear up the Wizards, wipe the roster clean, and start all over again.
Grunfeld warned me that was going to happen. “We might have to trade everyone,” he said. “Rebuild from scratch, looking forward to the future.”
All I said was, “Okay.” What else could I say?
Of course, as you probably know, Gilbert Arenas was never an elite player again after this incident.
As for Javaris Crittenton, in 2013 he was charged with murder in the 2011 shooting death of a 22-year-old mother of four. In 2015 he plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Hat Tip – [Washington Post]