NEW YORK — Gilbert Arenas was suspended without pay Wednesday by NBA commissioner David Stern, who determined the player's behavior made him "not currently fit to take the court."
A day after the Washington Wizards guard was photographed before a game in Philadelphia pointing his index fingers, as if they were guns, at his teammates, Stern warned the former All-Star that his conduct will "ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse."
Arenas is under investigation by federal and local authorities after admittedly bringing guns to the locker room. Stern originally planned to wait to take action, but he tired of Arenas' behavior.
Arenas met with law enforcement officials Monday and said the next day that he feared Stern more than the authorities because the commissioner was "mean."
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"Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game," Stern said in a statement. "Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA."
With each game he misses, Arenas will lose about $147,200 of the $16.2 million he will earn this season in the second of a six-year, $111 million contract.
The punishment came on his 28th birthday.
A Wizards spokesman said Arenas left the team, which is playing in Cleveland, earlier Wednesday but didn't know where he was going.
"It's sad," Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "You don't want to see a player go down like that. We're a family, and it hurts."
The Wizards supported Stern's decision in a statement attributed to president Ernie Grunfeld and the Pollin family, which owns the team. The late Abe Pollin changed the team's name from the Bullets because of the violent connotation.
"Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert's recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable," the statement said. "Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbert's behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollin's leadership, our organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of ever doing so."