Five years ago I started this site on AOL’s blog platform to write about the 2004 NCAA tournament. As that spring wore on, I wanted to keep it going and cover all sports, mostly as they pertain to D.C., so I did.
Three-plus years later Chris, who’d been in this blog game for years with Saved by the Blog, joined the party, and we moved it to WordPress. Now, because AOL’s platform is nevermore, those early years are lost in time.
So to celebrate Mr. Irrelevant’s 5th birthday we’re republishing some of those old posts in their entirety, warts and all. First up is “Gilbert Arenas’ Birthday Party: ‘Get Drunk, Make Bad Decisions’”, originally published on January 8, 2007. Enjoy, and thanks for making this so much fun …
I have an Arenas Express card with my name on it. There are 7,000 others able to make the same claim but none who value the plastic more. For a night, it was the key into a different world and, forever, proof I was there for Gilbert’s million dollar 25th birthday party. Now, let’s rewind for a minute so you know what I’m on about.
Last Wednesday I had no clue that my favorite baller was turning 25, much less throwing the party of the year at Love in DC. It came across my radar via email from my friend Sev with the great hope that we must attend. And for two days our search remained fruitless; locked out of the house where Diddy would host and hip-hop’s finest were set to perform.
I asked everyone I knew with power and/or connections for help. DC Sports Bog said he was going to his dad’s 60th birthday party that night. Unsilent Majority had a ticket in hand but none to spare. One guy told me that I didn’t want to go because “it’s all black.” A colleague who used to date Diddy (“pre-J. Lo”) was doing what she could for a blogger. No one came though and all seemed lost until the final, darkest hour.
It was then that my boss (who you may know from his Quite Frankly appearance) came through with an Express card for yours truly. We left it at “meet me there by 11” and off I went, wearing my Super Duper Flyest (“NO Timbs!”) and listening to Clipse along the way. After driving to Northeast, street parking and walking up past Bentleys and Rolls, I was at the source of the spotlights and had arrived at the cross-section of sports and entertainment and politics and money and so many women.
On we went through security and towards the
red black carpet and its ice sculpture of Gilbert and dueling Arenas paintings in-progress. With swiveling heads entrance was made into the heart of the beast. We posted up at the bar, trying to get tenderfoot’s attention while surrounded by Redskinettes and girls who mostly looked like Redskinettes.
The first celeb sighting was Etan Thomas, decked out in Super Duper Rastafari. Amidst a crowd of gawkers the warrior poet strolled by and up the stairs to wherever it is 6’10” millionaires disappear to at parties like this. He was quickly followed in and up by Caron Butler and a Tough Juice-worthy entourage of 10.
Amidst blaring hip-hop, revealing women and sunglass-wearing men, Marion Barry limped by with a lady and smile. Upon a throwaway comment that I wanted a picture I found myself arm-in-arm with the most infamous of mayors telling him that he’s a DC icon. It was then that the camera flashed, someone shouted “Look at the white boy!” and memories were made.
After more expensive booze, awkward conversation and a quick meetup with Unsilent and his relatively modest entourage, we had to see more of the club. Out we went, back down the black carpet to its conclusion, a large tent with stage where an MC (Doug E. Fresh?) was introducing Arenas in a white suit like none I’ve ever known. Gil reluctantly took the mike before the adoring throng and shared his simple birthday wish: “Everybody get drunk and make bad decisions.” And with roaring approval Agent Zero exited stage right into a night of hanging with Diddy.
We weren’t done reaping the rewards of the tent, as Lil Wayne came on for the first performance of the night and what was probably my first hip-hop show since Tribe Called Quest in ’97. After a half hour of the greatest rapper alive, it was time to go back inside, but the path was blocked as Arenas and Diddy worked the press. Standing five feet from the two supernovas, I was set to hit record and ask Gil whether his party was more phenomenal than his swag, but they were whisked away too soon by handlers and hopeful women.
With the buzz of the evening reaching a high point we rolled back to where we first began, only this time I ran into Calvin Booth and his unexceptional swag. A photo was taken, pleasantries were exchanged and upward we went to the second and third levels. The second was preferable, as one dude openly smoked a blunt on the dancefloor while the DJ played ‘Walk It Out’ (remix). The third was unfortunate as it seemed like a fancier version of any bar or club in America, although the DJs at most bars aren’t yelling, “Halle Berry and Mariah Carey in the house!”
Back down we wandered, looking for action for fear of missing anything. The night grew long, and Busta Rhymes took the stage. We stalled once again in the circus-like atmosphere of the black carpet: leering men, scurrying women, a naked lady painted as a leopard and Mayor Barry; still smiling and limping around. Towards Busta and his familiar anthems I was pulled, searching for Unsilent. As the set wore down and my battery ran low, it was time to leave. Heading for the door, past the drying murals and melting sculptures, I soaked it all in. It was there I met Unsilent and company, all smiles and satisfaction (“I touched Diddy!”).
Emerging into the night, away from the dream and through the heavy mist, I passed cars worth more than my whole life. Making my way to the ride of my own, a cab passed by with a girl hanging out the window yelling, “Hey, it’s a cracker ass cracker! Yay, white people!” As apt as that may have been, she’d missed the point of the evening entirely. Gilbert was celebrating his life, his town and his people with considerable style. I was lucky enough to be one of those people, and I have the card to prove it.