Arenas plans to take back seat to Wall
Arenas spoke after the Wizards' preseason opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, the first time he was met with reporters since his brief comments on the eve of training camp. He was again expressionless, maintaining the serious demeanor he presented to the public throughout camp.
''Right now I'm out there to hit open shots, teach John the ins and the outs of the game, and then eventually go on and move on - on my way,'' Arenas said. ''This is the NBA. There's few players that stay in the same city, so right now the city is John's. I'm not here to fight anybody. I'm here to play alongside of him.''
Arenas is attempting a comeback after a felony conviction for bringing guns into the locker room landed him a 50-game suspension and a month in a halfway house last season. The legal trouble was preceded by knee problems, limiting the former three-time All-Star to 47 games over the last three seasons.
Arenas became an embarrassment to the Wizards, who removed his jersey from the team stores and took down his banners and posters from virtually every nook and cranny of the Verizon Center. He is still on the roster largely because the team signed him to a six-year, $111 million contract in the summer of 2008, making any sort of trade unfeasible.
The new face of the franchise is No. 1 overall pick Wall, and Arenas has conceded as much. Wall and Arenas both started Tuesday night; Wall had 21 points and nine assists, while Arenas scored 12 points with one assist and didn't get to the free-throw line.
''He's Batman, I'm Robin,'' Arenas said. ''When I came in, Larry (Hughes) moved aside for me to become a star, and I'm moving aside for (Wall) to become a star.''
Arenas used to be one of the most colorful characters in the game. He explained his new serious side, which he kept up even as he was greeted warmly before the game by several former Wizards teammates who now play for the Mavericks.
''It's a double-headed sword,'' Arenas said. ''I guess at this point I'm at that point where people are going to nitpick everything I do just because I got in trouble, so ... I've just got to be serious and worry about what I'm doing.''
''I lost all feeling a long time ago,'' he said. ''Basketball is basketball now, no matter what floor I'm on.''