The �Don�t You Know Who I Am� Line Just Isn�t Working These Days

By Gregory Moore
Updated: May 31, 2006

SAN ANTONIO � So I�m sitting around the other day and this commercial comes on the television the other day and it�s none other than Gilbert Arenas and his teammate, Awvee Storey. They were doing this credit card commercial.

�Hi, do you know us?� the commercial began.

�We�re professional athletes but you wouldn�t know it,� Storey chimes. �Even when the Sand patrol in Miami-Dade County strong armed us, we weren�t recognized.� �I even made the statement of, �You can�t arrest me. I�m a basketball player for the Washington Wizards, it didn�t help,� Arenas says. (Video of him getting taken down and saying that exact phrase is played behind them in the commercial) �But now we carry this, the official pro athlete�s identification card. We never leave home without it.� I�m sure somebody from Mad TV will be calling for that bit and if they do, you know I�m going to go out in style and sell it like it was my last one. But on a serious note, the fact that Arenas would even use the �Don�t you know who I am� card is priceless these days because it continually shows why society should stop trying to treat athletes and celebrities as royalty and more like the common folk.

It also shows that athletes need to quit thinking they are privileged souls. As funny as the bit above is, make no mistake; professional athletes like to use that phrase as much as we use Dawn to wash the dishes in the kitchen.

Think about it for a moment. How many times do you even think an athlete would use the phrase? Heck there are all kinds of scenarios. Here�s just a few opportunistic times that the phrase could be used somewhere in society: At a posh bistro outside of Times Square, A-Rod is trying to get a table: �Excuse me but don�t you know who I am? I play for the New York Yankees?� The response by the restaurant’s hostess? �I�m sorry I�m a Mets fan and I JUST gave your table to Katie Couric and Walter Cronkrite.� Looking at a very expensive jewelry store on Rodeo Drive, Kobe is waiting to buy another pink diamond: �Excuse me but can you help me? I�m in a rush.� The store manager says, �Sir, please you�ll have to wait your turn.� Kobe replies, �Don�t you know who I am? I play for the Los Angeles Lakers.� The store manager says, �I don�t care if you�re Kobe Bryant himself, Mr. Jackson and Ms. Buss will be waited on first.� Oh and this one will definitely work. Standing in line at the pharmacy in Super Wal-Mart, Barry awaits getting his prescription filled. He grows impatient and starts to murmur, �Can somebody please help me? I need to know the difference between the two tubes in my hand.�

The pharmacy tech recognizes him right away and says, �Surely Mr. Bonds I�ll help you. You have the wrong cream. Neither one of these two will help you with your bat swing or your arthritic knee.� Okay, that was a cheap shot on Bonds but I couldn�t resist. Been a long time since I took a crack shot at him and even though those examples were a little over the top, you can imagine pro athletes and their families trying to get the hook up strictly because of their status in society.

When it comes to preferential treatment, many athletes think it is their duty to not only cut in line but to be treated like kings and queens. Whose fault is it that we have such rudeness? Why it�s the ever-loving society where we want to know their every move. People flat out have a conniption if they don�t get a chance to see one of their favorite sports stars up close and personal.

What is so ironic is that many times this phrase doesn�t pop out until the athlete needs something from somebody and that is usually a favor. I�m quite sure Arenas was trying to get his way out of showing up in front of the magistrate.

I�m sure that Gilbert was quite embarrassed and he just wanted to get away from the situation as soon as possible. He wanted out of the limelight. As for his teammate, I�m sorry who is he again? See, sometimes it works and a lot of times it doesn�t; even in a column.