Arenas: Guns were a 'joke'
WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas says he took unloaded guns from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on a teammate.
Arenas released a written statement yesterday after meeting with law enforcement officials. And Arenas' lawyer says the player voluntarily met with prosecutors and detectives and answered every question during a two-hour interview.
In his statement, Arenas repeated his earlier assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children. He said he mistakenly believed that recent changes in D.C. law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns there.
Arenas said he took the unloaded guns out of his locker on Dec. 21 "in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate." He denied threatening or assaulting anyone. The New York Post has reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other.
"Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong," Arenas said. "I should not have brought the guns to DC in the first place, and I now realize that there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns — even if unloaded."
Two officials within the league who have been briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on Saturday that the incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room.
Crittenton's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said earlier yesterday that his client did nothing wrong.
It was unclear whether Crittenton also planned to meet with authorities about the incident. His lawyer, Peter White, is on vacation and said he would not be at any meetings yesterday or today.
Arenas also apologized for his actions in the statement.
"I am very sorry for the effect that my serious lapse in judgment has had on my team, my teammates, the National Basketball Association and its fans," Arenas said. "I want to apologize to everybody for letting them down with my conduct, and I promise to do better in the future."
NBA commissioner David Stern likely will wait until the legal process is complete before handing down penalties, but he could rule on Arenas now since league rules were broken in that instance.
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Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and Quentin Richardson added 10 rebounds for Miami, which snapped a three-game losing streak and moved within 3 1/2 games of Atlanta for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Thunder 98, Bulls 85: Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant added 25 and Oklahoma City dominated the third quarter in a victory over host Chicago.
Westbrook and Durant had eight points each during a 27-6 run in the third, when the Thunder shot 65 percent to take control. It was Oklahoma City's sixth victory in seven games.
Hornets 91, Jazz 87: Chris Paul stole the ball and drove for a layup with 27 seconds left to help New Orleans end a late threat for its first victory in Utah in almost four years.
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Clippers 105, Trail Blazers 95: Chris Kaman scored 20 points and Eric Gordon added 19 as host Los Angeles beat Portland.
Martell Webster scored a season-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and Andre Miller had 22 points and 16 assists.
Lakers: Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol has a mild to moderate strained left hamstring and is doubtful for tonight's game against Houston.
Heat: Miami center Jermaine O'Neal was out of the lineup against the Atlanta Hawks yesterday with a strained groin and hip flexor.