"I had my house converted to the Colorado altitude, so I am
always above sea level," Arenas said Monday at the Wizards annual
pre-training camp media day.
Say what? He's going to live at high altitude in the nation's
"You know, that's kind of weird," Arenas said.
He'll get plenty of nods with that statement, but, yep, he's
really doing it. Instead of going to the mountains to train -- as
some endurance athletes do -- Arenas has hired a company to simulate
those conditions in a home environment.
"I had to put a tent in one room, and then they are going to
come during training camp and fix the whole house," Arenas said.
"Then I have a portable tent I'm taking on the road."
Arenas hopes the living arrangement will give him more energy
in the fourth quarter of NBA games, when everyone else is getting
tired from breathing the same old heavy air.
"How I start the game is how I finish the game," he said.
There's always something up with Arenas, whether it was his
revelation last year that he played online poker during halftimes,
or the multitude of ways he finds to keep chips on his shoulders.
No wonder coach Eddie Jordan said last week that he hadn't spoken
much to Arenas this summer because he could stand only so much
Despite the extra-curriculars -- or maybe because of them --
Arenas is one of the best in the game. He was fourth in league in
scoring last season, averaging 29.3 points, and made his second
consecutive All-Star team.
Even so, there's a feeling he's never really been given his due.
That's why he wears the No. 0 -- he was supposed to get zero minutes
at the University of Arizona. Yes, he was an All-Star last season,
but only as a late replacement for an injured player.
Fuel was added to the fire this summer, when Arenas was among
the final cuts for the U.S. world championship team. The convenient
excuse was that he had a strained groin, but Arenas said he
essentially withdrew after learning that he probably wasn't going
to make the team anyway.
Shortly afterward, Arenas vented his frustration, telling The
Washington Post that he was going to exact revenge on Team USA
assistant coaches Nate McMillan and Mike D'Antoni by scoring 100
points each on their respective teams, Portland and Phoenix.
On Monday, Arenas apologized -- not a bad idea if he wants to
make the Olympic team in two years.
"I said some things, and I vented out against Phoenix and
Portland, but those teams actually had nothing to do with
anything," Arenas said. "That was wrong of me. I really want to
say sorry for it and I want to say sorry to Mike D'Antoni. That was
the immature Gilbert two months ago. I'm growing as a person, and
I'm ready to be a leader for the Washington Wizards."
Even so, Arenas said the snub means he will be more motivated
"There always someone out there who keeps me going," he said,
"and I like it."
Washington teammate Antawn Jamison, who made the U.S. team, was
disappointed that Arenas went public after getting cut. Then again,
Jamison admitted, the snub will probably help the Wizards.
"Once again, he found a way to have a chip on his shoulder, and
its going to be exciting to see what he pulls out of the hat this
year," Jamison said.
That wasn't all of the Arenas news Monday. He's on huge new
downtown billboard -- "Every kid, every NBA player dreams of having
their own billboard up," he said -- and he said he got himself in
shape for training camp with a week of boot camp with "a military
dude in San Francisco."
The regimen included running up and down the city's steep hills,
sometimes on soft sand with 40-pound medicine balls.
"I wanted to cry a couple of times," Arenas said. "While
you're doing it, you're like, 'This is murder. This guy is killing
me.' As soon as you're down, I was like 'Wow, I feel energized.'"
Just wait until he tries the same workout in his high-altitude