When we sat down to plan Dime #44, slated to hit newsstands just as NBA training camps were getting underway but NOT the issue pegged as our ’08-09 NBA season preview, we had a number of options. After throwing around the usual host of superstar and up-and-coming names for the cover, in the end we decided to go with Gilbert Arenas.
Going into his eighth year in the League, Arenas is on the verge of becoming more of an entertainer than a basketball star. To wit, when you type his name into Google, the first thing that pops up isn’t his NBA.com player profile, but his NBA.com blog. This is as much a testament to Arenas’ media- and fan-friendly personality and eccentricity as it is a sign of a very specific marketing plan that “Agent Zero” has mapped out for himself since he first became a pro, which he details in Austin Burton’s cover story, “The Mad Real World.” In a lengthy Q&A, Gil also addresses LeBron James and his rival Cleveland Cavaliers, all of the media critics who say he’s a ball-hog, and tells the real story behind why he left $16 million on the table in this summer’s free-agent negotiations.
We actually got up with Gilbert for this issue a couple of weeks before he found out he would need another surgery on his knee — his third procedure since the Spring of 2007 — that will cost him at least the first month of the Washington Wizards’ upcoming season. At the time, Gil was looking forward to being ready for Opening Night, where he has a brand-new set of expectations to go along with his brand-new $111 million contract. When Arenas does get healthy and back on the court, the pressure will be on to produce more W’s than entertainment value.
Also in Dime #44 we’ve got features on Monta Ellis — who is in many ways in a similar position to Arenas in that he’s sporting a new big-money contract and dealing with his own untimely injury and pressure to carry his franchise — and Class of ’09 high school superstar John Wall; previews of NBA Live 09 and NBA 2K9; a hot-as-usual Dime fashion feature with J.R. Smith; Elton Brand talking about his new team and new signature kicks; our “Baller’s Blueprint” how-to feature with Baron Davis and Kevin Love, and a lot more.
You can pick up Dime #44 on newsstands and at retailers nationwide.