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Gilbert Arenas Interview




| July 11, 2006

Gilbert ArenasWashington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas spoke with the media on Tuesday to discuss his involvement with USA Basketball and the senior men's team, which will compete this summer in the world basketball championship in Japan. Here's what Gilbert said:

Washington Wizards Guard Gilbert Arenas On training with the USA Mens Senior National Team:

Im exciteda little nervous. Its just like when you see rookies come in and they are trying to make a squad. That is how I feel going out there. Its different. I have to go out there and fight and try and win a spot on that team.

On trying to make the team:

Like I told Coach, if someone is better than me, I can accept not making the team. But no one is going to work harder than me. I am going to work myself onto the team.

On the caliber of the other players:

Its the best players in the game. Its like an All Star game, but for real. We all heard about the Dream Team and how they worked and we want to duplicate that.

On the commitment to the USA program:

You are playing for your countrythe USA. It will be a great feeling. You should be proud for it to say USA on your jersey.

On Coach Mike Krzyzewski:

I called him after July 4th and we had about a 20 to 30 minute talk. He said he likes my speed and that I can shoot. He wants to see me play defense -- to get out there and pick them up full court -- and I am willing to do anything to make this team.

More on his conversation with Coach K:

I told him you dont have to worry about me. Im not one of the egotistic players. If you want me to dive on the floor and run into walls, Ill do it. Im just trying to make the team. He can worry about someone else because he wont have to worry about me.

On what he sees his role being:

We have scorers. You have Kobe (Bryant), you have LeBron (James), you have Dwyane Wade. We have scorers; they dont need that from me. All they need from me is to run the team, run the defense, be athletic and take open shots -- and I am willing to do that.

On his reputation as a scoring point guard:

I can be the passing point guard. I dont need to score. I can hit the open shot, I can be a spot up shooter; I can do those things. And I am happy to show that. Three of the NBAs top four scorers will be there; seven out of the top ten will be there. Some of us arent going to have to score and I am one who is willing to do that.

On meeting Jerry Colangelo:

We met early in the season. He came to our game against the Nuggets so he got the chance to talk to me and to Carmelo (Anthony). The first time he spoke to me it was a feeling out process. I was nervous. I was over there sweating and shaking. But I told him if I dont make the team I am still going to be playing somewhere. I would be playing on streets or in a gym. I am going to be playing so he might as well just use me out there. I can be a practice player -- I dont mind -- as long as I have that jersey on.

On the benefits of being part of the USA program:

The cool part is that I get to travel, and Im just happy to be around All-Starsplayers you looked up to, now you get to play with them for a month. You get to look at their work habits; you get to see what they do to get better.

On being a role model:

Its great, some players dont want to take on the role model status, but kids are going to look up to players, actors and actresses anyway, so Im just trying to set a good example to show kids hard work and dedication to my craft.

On the international game:

Ive been working out on the international three -- its like a free throw now. Im accustomed to that line, and I know its hard for NBA players to shoot from that line. We dont practice it -- its either shoot an NBA three or drive into the lane, it seems like there is no in between, so Ive been working on it and Ive forgotten about the NBA line.

Discuss Gilbert and the Wizards on the Washington Wizards Forum.

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