After a few years with various relatives, Wizards star Gilbert Arenas was essentially raised by his father. His mother left him when he was young, and the two have never really reconnected, other than a brief meeting courtside at a Miami Heat game.
The Washington Post's Mike Wise wrote a story about Arenas' family about two years ago. Arenas says that a photo of his mother accompanying that story was the first of her he had ever seen.
More recently, on his blog, a commenter chided Arenas for not using his power and cash to help support his mother.
That suggestion got Arenas thinking. An excerpt of his most recent blog entry on NBA.com:
When the commenter goes, "How come you never gave your mother a second chance?" I thought about it. That's not a question you need to be asking me, that's a question you need to be asking her.
You give somebody a second chance when you've cut them off in the past. Like, if I fire somebody, for instance, I could give them a second chance. She left me. She should have given me a second chance. That's how I look at the situation.
My grandma has been in that same house in Tampa since my dad was little, almost 60 years living in the same house. She hasn't moved. You know where to find me.
That's how I look at a lot of people in my family. When me and my dad left, where were they? My dad keeps in touch with a lot of people in the family. I don't. I feel that those are his family. On my side, all I know is my dad. He's my family.
Me and my dad get in arguments about this because when we were struggling, we were they? We've been away from them for 15 years and I never got one card, no happy birthday, no nothing. I didn't get anything. No one called me, I didn't talk to anybody. Everyone started to talk to me because I was playing in college. I remember them, but at the end of the day, they're strangers to me now.
How I look at the situation with my mom is, I don't want to know you as a basketball player. I'll know you when I'm done playing. I'll know you as a man. Like, "These are my kids. This is my family. How are you doing?"
I don't want to know you as an NBA player because I don't know what the angle is. I don't know if you want to reconnect with your son of if you want to reconnect with the man who is playing in the NBA. If I was your son, then I was your son for all of these years. I wasn't your son once I made it to the league so you can tell all your friends, "Oh, that's my son!" That's how I look at the situation and it's kind of funny because I never really thought about it until I read that comment.