Javaris Crittenton never had a chance to establish a reputation in the NBA before he became notorious. He was the other, seemingly insignificant half in one of the most embarassing incidents the Wizards franchise has had to face.
An often-injured, undistinguished player, Crittenton got caught up in the locker-room gun incident with Gilbert Arenas in December 2009 — a situation that led to both players getting suspended for the rest of the season, Arenas spending time in a halfway house, and Crittenton pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and a year's probation.
Now, nearly 19 months after he pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to possession of an unregistered firearm, Crittenton faces a homicide charge in the death of Jullian Jones, a mother of four. Atlanta police allege that Crittenton fired gunshots onto a street in southwest Atlanta from a black Chevy Tahoe. Jones, whose age has been reported as 22 or 23, was struck in the leg and died during surgery, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
According to the Journal-Constitution, investigators believe that the 23-year-old Crittenton may have been retaliating for a robbery that occurred in April and was attempting to shoot one of the two men who were walking with Jones.
It's easy to say this is a sad situation, but as a former associate of Crittenton's put it, it's "worse than sad." The latest turn of events is nothing short of tragic, especially for the family of the victim, and for Crittenton, who — if this turns out to be true — clearly has not learned from his mistakes.
Arenas had an immediate reaction to the news on his Twitter account but has since deleted it. He wrote, "I really wanna say sumthing but I wont becuz theirs a dead women involved.…"
While attempting a comeback last year with the Charlotte Bobcats — not only from the gun incident but also a serious ankle injury that required two surgeries — Crittenton explained during training camp what he had gained from the experience in Washington and appeared to have matured.
"Use wisdom in everything and just don't get caught up in foolishness and nonsense and crazy people around you," Crittenton said in October. "It was a bad decision on both ends and we're trying to move forward with our careers and our lives."
Charlotte didn't have room for another point guard and cut Crittenton about two weeks later. He went to China before returning to play for the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, hoping for an other opportunity in the NBA that never came — and now might never come.
After his dispute with Arenas, many around the league doubted that the 6-foot-3 point guard would ever play in another NBA game. He was a borderline player, but the incident tagged Crittenton with the label of a reckless, gun-toting thug.
When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted him in the first round of the 2007 NBA draft, Crittenton was viewed as a polite, mature kid whose only major blunder was perhaps leaving school too early.
Crittenton lied to Wizards officials about having a gun and — despite Arenas' saying he wasn't the only one with firearms in the locker room — didn't admit he had the weapon until he turned himself in to accept a plea agreement.