Gilbert Arenas was a fan favorite during his time in the league. While his run as a superstar in the NBA was short, it was very exciting. Arenas was very much one of the blueprints for many point guards today, as his strength was in scoring rather than his ability to create for others.
Arenas was drafted 31st overall by the Golden State Warriors. At the time, he signed a contract for $845,000. But he actually spent a lot of his money frivolously as soon as he got it, which led to financial trouble very quickly.
Arenas spent his money on an Escalade with 5 TVs, the car purchase being inspired by Gary Payton. But it got so bad that he had to restrict himself to a budget of just $5000, and he didn't have gas money for the car, and even had to spend some night sleeping in the Warriors' Oracle Arena (3:25 onward).
“So I bought an Escalade, had five TVs in it, four (12-inch speakers) — saw Gary Payton with the suede — had the suede on the top, suede roof. I had the big chain just like everybody else (that read) ‘GJA.’ I spent all of that money.”
“That’s gas money. Girlfriend, two dogs, I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t even drive back and forth to the arena, so I had to stay at the arena sometimes. I slept in the arena. I was basically homeless, but I just couldn’t afford the gas all the time. That helped me because it made me stay in the gym and understand what a professional is.”
Arenas eventually learned his lesson in financial stability. But things were not easy for him in Golden State. He was laughed at by the Warriors front office for demanding $24 million from them. So he left the franchise, thus signing with the Washington Wizards 2 years into his career.
Arenas, after struggling for money in his rookie year, signed a massive $60 million contract with the Washington Wizards, something he was shocked by because it never happened before.
Arenas was looking forward to working with Michael Jordan in Washington, who was supposed to be the president of basketball operations after retiring the season before.
Gilbert Arenas spent the majority of his career in Washington, where he reached All-Star status. In 2010, he was traded and spent an underwhelming year with the Orlando Magic. Arenas was waived by the Magic, during the lockout season of 2011-12.
After clearing waivers, which meant he got paid due to his big contract being traded to Orlando, Arenas decided to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies on a minimum contract.
Arenas' remaining salary that the Magic had to pay was about $62 million. So he got the money upfront because they waived him. Thus, Arenas earned about $62 million for playing only 17 games in the 2011-12 season. When asked how he felt about this monetary win, Arenas hilariously responded by calling himself the GOAT.
"It's why I'm the GOAT."
Arenas retired at the end of the 2011-12 season, as he was playing only a back-up role to Mike Conley. After a small stint in the Chinese Basketball Association, Arenas decided to hang up his sneakers and call time on his career.
Arenas became an unlikely All-Star in his career and showed that a point guard who specializes in scoring can be a star in the league. In many ways, he and Allen Iverson broke the mold and paved the way for players like Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving, who are point guards who specialize in scoring.