During Gilbert Arenas' stint in the NBA, he was never expected to become a star. He entered the league as a second-round pick in 2001 and then went on to defy all expectations, becoming an All-Star and All-NBA player during his time with the Washington Wizards.
Arenas himself said that his draft stock fell before he entered the league after Jim O'Brien called him immature. But despite his late draft selection, he went on to become one of the best players in the league during his stint in the NBA.
Arenas was an explosive player and a flashy star. Despite being a point guard, he was one of the most athletic players in the league. While he was considered undersized for the NBA at 6'4, he used that evaluation to his advantage.
Gilbert Arenas was a unique player, on and off the court. And in one game, he wore shoes that wouldn't normally be worn on a basketball court. In 2010, the Wizards went to LA to take on the Lakers. Before the game, Nick Young came to the arena wearing Dolce And Gabbana sneakers.
Arenas didn't have a shoe sponsor at the time and was trying out different shoes. Seeing Young's shoes, he thought that they would be okay to use for basketball, as they were designed similarly to basketball sneakers from other companies. Aside from their being no shoelaces, Arenas was happy with the fit and took to the court.
"I didn't have a shoe sponsor at the time, so I was testing different shoes. That night we're in Los Angeles and Nick [Young] comes to the camp with these weird shoes under his dress. I look at his locker and think 'Man, they match our shirt!' and so I thought about wearing them. The only inconvenient thing is that they didn't have laces"
And so, Arenas played against Kobe Bryant and the defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers in a pair of Dolce and Gabbana sneakers. The designer, Yong Bae Soek, revealed that he designed the shoe based on how basketball sneakers looked, which is why the shape was so similar.
"Basketball players usually prefer laces, it's the only difference with a performance shoe. I preferred to insert the velcro and the tears to make it more robust. It will be served to Gilbert that night".
Arenas had a good game in those shoes, scoring 23 points against the Lakers. But his performance wasn't enough for the Wizards to get the win. But the story that came from that game was the unique choice of shoe Arenas made to take to the court.
Perhaps one day we will see another player rock a pair of Dolce and Gabanna basketball shoes going forward. But for now, Arenas remains the first and only player to wear them on the court.