- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Andray, Andray, Andray.

Let’s sit down and take a deep breath.

And let’s point out several undeniable facts.

You are very tall. You play in the NBA.

You can walk into any nighttime playground in the city and the patrons are going to notice you.

A few of the bolder ones might even come up to you and ask, “Do you play for the Wizards?”

If it is an attractive woman posing the question, you should feel inclined to answer in the affirmative and go from there.

See how easy that is. And legal, too. And safer.

That is why there are restaurants with bars.

Other than trying to score with a hot young thing, why would anyone go to a lounge to pay $4 for a bottle of beer? Or $2 for a soda in Andray’s underage case?

This is the age-old game, Andray.

You do not look to score with what you think is a working girl on Thomas Circle in the wee hours of the morning. That is what creepy old guys do.

That is not what a 20-year-old player in the NBA should be doing. Or have to do.

That is the surprising dynamic of the sexual-solicitation charge hanging before Blatche.

Here was an NBA player accused of wanting to pay for a happy ending.

Who knew there could be an NBA player as desperate as a creepy old guy?

Most astute observers of the NBA always have been under the impression that players merely walk into a hotel lobby, nod in the direction of a woman who catches their eye and proceed to chase the legend of the late Wilt Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, by his own admission, scored almost as frequently off the court as he did on the court, which is saying something. And he was smart about it. He was a lifelong bachelor who never fathered a child, which is an element of the equation that far too many NBA players overlook.

We will leave Shawn Kemp out of this lesson plan, other than to note that no one wants his palimony payments.

Andray, you should have had yourself under self-imposed lockdown until the negotiations involving a five-year, $12.5-million contract were completed.

Now, of course, there is a chill in those negotiations, if not an urge on the part of Ernie Grunfeld to re-evaluate your worth to the team.

You already are carrying a good amount of baggage after only two seasons in NBA: a scar from a bullet wound, a driving-without-a-license charge, a sexual-solicitation charge, denying the sexual-solicitation charge to a Syracuse television station, an apathetic work ethic and a failure to understand your responsibilities to your employer, teammates and yourself.

Yes, youth is wasted on the young, as George Bernard Shaw once said. That affords Blatche something of a free pass. He is still finding his way, and that can be a challenging process for even the most grounded young men.

Yet the NBA is a business, and investing millions of dollars in adolescent-inspired nonsense is always a risky undertaking.

There should be only one question before Blatche now.

Does he want to end up a could-have-been or a somebody in the NBA?

He certainly has the tools and energy that intrigue the personnel gurus of the NBA.

But raw athletic gifts cannot overcome poor decision-making and a reluctance to embrace the gym-rat example of Gilbert Arenas and the professionalism of Antawn Jamison.

His foray on Thomas Circle shows a naivety that is almost comical, for no neighborhood in the city is seemingly complete without a we-love-you-long-time massage den of discretion.

Now his indiscretion is certain to cost him time, money and being the butt of an endless series of jokes in the locker room, a few no doubt dispensed by Arenas.

Next time Blatche has what he thinks is a smashing idea late at night, he might want to place a call to Jack Miles, the team’s director of keeping players out of potentially bad situations.

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