Peter Vecsey and David K. Li, New York Post, Jan. 2, 2010
NBA all-star Gilbert Arenas and his Washington Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other in the team’s locker room during a Christmas Eve dispute over a gambling debt, The Post has learned.
League sources say the pistol-packing point guards had heaters at the ready inside the Verizon Center, the Washington, DC, home of the Wizards–whose name was changed from the Bullets over gun-violence concerns.
It was the three-time all-star Arenas, 27, who went for his gun first, sources said, drawing on the 22-year-old Crittenton, who quickly brandished a firearm as well.
The duel in DC–unprecedented in sports history–was sparked when Crittenton became enraged at the veteran guard for refusing to make good on a gambling debt, a source said.
“I’m not your punk!” Crittenton shouted at Arenas, according to a league source close to the Wizards.
That prompted Arenas to draw on Crittenton, who then also grabbed for a gun, league security sources said.
A playground pal of Crittenton’s from Atlanta, Kendrick “Bookie Ball” Long, confirmed the locker-room standoff and said he learned of it directly from the third-year player out of Georgia Tech.
“He [Arenas] was f—-ing with him; he [Crittenton] was just defending himself!” declared Long, who said the dispute was over money but would not elaborate.
The Wizards announced on Christmas Day that Arenas had admitted to bringing guns to the locker room and had turned them over to team security. No ammunition was handed over.
Today, the Wizards in a statement said they “take this situation and the ongoing investigation very seriously. We are continuing to cooperate fully with the proper authorities and the NBA and will have no further comment at this time.”
Washington police said they were investigating Arenas for gun-possession violations. But the Wizards’ gun grab has also drawn the attention of the feds.
“We’re working with the Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation. That’s about all we can say at his point,” said Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in DC.
The feds have been investigating gambling within the NBA since disgraced ex-referee Tim Donaghy admitted betting on games and feeding information to bookies. It was not clear whether the gambling debt that sparked the Arenas-Crittenton duel had anything to do with league games.
A top players-union official said he was shocked by the allegations. “This is unprecedented in the history of sports,” said Player’s Association Executive Director Billy Hunter. “I’ve never heard of players pulling guns on each other in a locker room.”
Arenas, who has three kids, reportedly told team officials he brought guns to his Verizon Center locker so they wouldn’t be close to his newborn at their home in Great Falls, Va.
Firearm laws in Washington are among the nation’s strictest. Until a recent US Supreme Court ruling, private ownership of guns was illegal in the nation’s capital.
As it stands now, gun owners are allowed to transport firearms only within DC under very limited circumstances–such as taking the weapon to be registered or to a practice range. There’s no provision under current DC law for a private citizen to have a gun at work.
In 2003, Arenas pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon in San Francisco.