The Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton fallout has left teams rethinking their policies on gambling. The New Jersey Nets recently banned gambling on all team flights to help prevent disagreements between teammates. (Although, if I were 3-33, I wouldn’t think about shooting one of my teammates… I’d be thinking about shooting myself.)
But the Celtics have decided not to ban gambling.
“I am not going to that extreme,’’ Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe.
“I think we always overreact to that stuff. Gambling didn’t cause that problem, Gilbert’s actions caused this problem. There has been gambling before I got in the league. There’s been arguments and obviously, because guys make more money now, the stakes are higher. But, having said that, our rule on the plane is they can do whatever they want as long as they keep it under control. They are going to have some arguments every once in a while, but if it divides the team, then it’s a problem.’’
If gambling could possibly divide the team, why gamble? For fun, that’s why. Just like a lot of other people in the world, some professional athletes like to gamble. Whether it’s for the rush, the competition, or just to have something to do on the plane other than listen to an iPod, gambling has been a part of the NBA for many, many years.
Michael Jordan made NBA gambling famous, but it’s been around — I’m sure — since long before Mike.
Ray Allen told the Globe, “Sine I have been in the league, we have always played cards. You play to pass the time and have a good time.”
For Tony Allen, gambling is first and foremost about having a good time and interacting with teammates.
“Gambling is part of being a camaraderie towards the teammates, something they can do off the court besides basketball.”
But for a lot of guys, even Ray Allen, it goes beyond that.
“You don’t have to play for large sums of money, but it’s like any time I play golf, I always play for money,” Ray said. ”When you step to the tee box and I always ask my guys, ‘What are we playing for?’ Seriously because what it boils down to is I like to compete and I like for you to sit over your putt and be nervous. I don’t want to lose anything. I have a reputation to uphold.”
For Arenas and Crittenton, trying to uphold their reputations brought about a confrontation both players will likely regret for a long time. At some point, most likely as soon as guns entered the conversation and the locker room, upholding a reputation turned serious and sinister. It became about far more than competition, far more than a way for the players to pass time.
But it doesn’t have to be and, for the Celtics at least, it hasn’t been. So the C’s are likely to continue to allow gambling, even if other teams are worried about Arenas-Crittenton the sequel.