Someone needs to remind Eastern Conference all-star and Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas of the meaning of the word “irony.”

Arenas may try to tell you that it is ironic that, after being drafted in the second round, he is leading the Eastern Conference in scoring and lighting up highlight reels on a nightly basis. He may go on to tell you that his choice of jersey number – “0” – is ironic because he was told he would get zero minutes of playing time in college. While these fun facts may be slightly ironic, the real Agent Zero irony lies in his recent Adidas ad campaign.

The advertisement, unveiled at the beginning of the new NBA season, is headlined by NBA superstars Arenas, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady. In the commercials, and radio spots and on the posters, the basketball superstars remind the audience that “It takes five.” While these superstars do amazing things on their own, the ad implies that it takes a star’s four other teammates for the team to achieve any kind of success.

Duncan and Billups took the concepts of team basketball all the way to the NBA Finals where they relied heavily on their supporting casts to achieve success. McGrady seems to have just recently learned the value of five down in Houston, where he is leading the Yao Ming-less Rockets towards the Western Conference playoffs. Kevin Garnett has never had the players around him to achieve great playoff glory, and thus knows the value of five all too well after 12 seasons with the mediocre Minnesota Timberwolves.

Meanwhile, here in the District, Gilbert Arenas is having an outstanding year. Nobody in his conference is scoring more points, and his Wizards have managed a 28-21 record – good enough for third best in the East. Agent Zero has even worked his way onto sports writers’ midseason MVP lists, perhaps most notably being ranked second by ESPN’s Tim Legler.

With all of these impressive statistics and predictions one may wonder, “What exactly is the problem? What is strange about `the Hibachi’ starring in the same commercial as the likes of McGrady or Billups?”

The problem is that for now it seems like Arenas cares a lot more about the number zero than five. Like many young players with incredible scoring talents, Agent Zero has become so caught up in grabbing ESPN headlines and setting scoring records that the success of his team often seems to be of secondary importance.

When asked how he felt about being left off of Team USA by Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski last summer, Arenas boasted that he would give up a season in the NBA for the chance to put up 85 points against the Blue Devils. Forget the future of his own team or the fans in D.C. – Arenas’ injured pride takes precedence.

When Wizards teammate and team leader Antawn Jamison went down with a knee injury in late January, Arenas blamed four losses in five games on poor coaching, rather than trying to fill the leadership void and keep the Wizards on track. When asked why he would not want to be captain in Jamison’s absence, Arenas admitted, “I’m a goof. C’mon, everyone knows that. . I don’t want nobody looking at me. How can I tell somebody, `Don’t shoot that shot’ when I’m out there chunking ’em?”

Arenas may have a good point, but it hardly excuses his lack of interest in guiding a team that seems to be falling apart, with fights in the locker room and negative quotes in the media.

Some may be ready to excuse his self-centered antics or hesitance to lead by saying he makes up for it on the court, but the statistics say otherwise.

Sure, Arenas scores at a blinding pace, but it only takes a little bit of basketball acumen to know that scoring is far from everything. How about field goal percentage? Going down the list of the NBA’s top scorers, one would need to go all the way to 31st, where New York’s Jamal Crawford is shooting 40 percent from the field, to find anyone with a lower field goal percentage than Hibatchi’s 41.8 percent.

Of the league’s top 50 scorers, Arenas has taken the third most shots. Agent Zero also has the seventh most turnovers in the NBA this season, but perhaps the most telling stat of all is that while Arenas takes more three pointers than anyone in the league, he ranks 91st in three-point percentage.

These numbers translate into a lot of possessions that end in a Gilbert Arenas missed shot or turnover. On a team lacking other viable options, putting the ball in Arenas’ hands and hoping for the best may be acceptable, but with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamsion to turn to, the Wizards do not fall into that category.

Butler, a member of the rookie all-star team during his first year in the NBA, has the ability put points on the board, and Jamison is a former all-star who, unlike his buddy Arenas, joined the U.S. basketball team in the FIBA World Championships last summer. With scoring options like Jamison and Butler and the amount of defensive attention he draws, Arenas should be leading the NBA in assists.

Arenas’ problem is certainly not a lack of talent. Watch any Wizards game and his incredible skill is evident. Arenas can pass, he can shoot and he can penetrate to the basket in a way that few players today can even hope to imitate. No, the problem with Arenas is purely mental. Playing with a giant chip on his shoulder, it seems as if Arenas’ quest to prove the doubters wrong could be his own undoing.

When Arenas, like the other four members of his Adidas team have done, grows up and starts to actually use the other four players around him, then he will do great things.

But for now, Gilbert Arenas reminds NBA fans about the importance of teamwork – and that, sports fans, is ironic.

Oh and Gil, if you want to play a little one on one, my e-mail address is below. With the soft rims in Yates, you could probably score at least 90.

Jamie Leader is a sophomore in the College. He can be reached at

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