WASHINGTON – Gilbert Arenas says he deserves to be punished for bringing guns to the locker room.
The suspended Washington Wizards guard told Esquire magazine that he wasn't using "longevity thinking" when he took out four guns in what he says was an attempt to play a prank on teammate Javaris Crittenton in December.
Arenas pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge in January and will be sentenced next week. He has been suspended until the end of the season by the NBA.
In the Esquire interview, which hits newsstands next week and was obtained by The Associated Press in advance, Arenas says he has "messed up" the legacy of Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who died in November.
"I have a painting of him in my garage. I just walk by it with my head down," Arenas said. "I called Mrs. Pollin and said, 'If Abe was still with us, I would've had to talk to him, so I'm gonna give you the same respect. I want to say sorry to you. I deserve to be punished. I'll do everything it takes to get back your husband's respect.'"
Arenas has kept a low profile since his guilty plea. He told the AP this month that he would have "no problems" playing for the Wizards again and that he's not nervous about his sentencing date as long as the judge "goes off the actual real story" of what happened. Last week, he submitted paperwork to change his jersey from No. 0 to No. 6 next season.
Arenas told Esquire that he used to have as many as 500 firearms in his home, having bought many of them from an elderly man's World War I collection. He says he put all but four of them in storage when he started having children.
Arenas also said that he and Crittenton returned to good terms almost immediately after their confrontation, which stemmed from a card game on the team plane. Crittenton also displayed a gun during the spat and was sentenced to unsupervised probation for a misdemeanor gun charge.
"He goes into the Jacuzzi," Arenas told the magazine. "You know what? I gotta warm my knee up anyway. I go in and sit with him. We're just sitting in there talking. We didn't have no problem. It was just some fun that got out of control."
Arenas also gave his perspective on another fallen star, Tiger Woods, separating the golfer's infidelity from the sport.
"Say it's all true," Arenas said. "At the end of the day, that's not the reason I love Tiger. I got three Tiger Woods games for my Xbox just in case one gets scratched. On the cover, it doesn't have him walking next to his wife. It just has Tiger Woods, hitting shots."