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Gilbert Arenas Was Homeless As A Rookie And Slept At The Arena Despite Earning $330,000 In Salary After He Took Huge Loans Before Being Drafted

Gilbert Arenas Was Homeless As A Rookie And Slept At The Arena Despite Earning $330,000 In Salary After He Took Huge Loans Before Being Drafted

Making it to the NBA is the dream for any young hooper coming through. It takes a lot to become one of the players that get drafted into the league, with just 60 spots in every season's draft. There is a lot that comes with making the league, too, the money, and the fame, all of which can end up fulfilling players' dreams but can sometimes also lead them down the wrong path. 

When players are coming through high school and college, some perform well enough to be certain of a spot in the NBA. This means that there have been stars that spent some of their money before they even got it. Gilbert Arenas' story is one of those, the All-Star known for his explosive scoring on the Wizards in the 2000s once found himself 'basically homeless' despite making it to the league. 

Gilbert Arenas was picked in the 2nd round of the 2001 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, meaning his first NBA deal was worth less than $1 million over 2 years. This caused him some trouble, thanks to some pre-draft loans he had taken. And as a rookie, Arenas made just over $330,000, which went away quite fast, as he explained to Bleacher Report

"What had happened was," he begins. The year was 2001, and Arenas was set to enter the NBA after two seasons at the University of Arizona. In his mind, he was a first-round pick; and if a thought exists in Arenas' mind, he usually brings it into the real world. So he borrowed a loan expecting a first-round payday. Then, he says, "I bought my chain, bought my Escalade with the five TVs and the stereo system." The audio equipment alone ran about $60,000. The chain, which bore Arenas' initials, cost another $40,000. Draft night came. Arenas fell to the Warriors at No. 31 in a 30-team league.

"When I went 31," Arenas says, "I got so mad that I threw the chain I bought out the window; gone." Arenas' second-round salary was something like $330,000, which was basically spent by the time he showed up at Golden State. Over his first two years in the league, Arenas' budget was $400 per month.

"Imagine trying to be an NBA player for $400 per month," he says. He rented a small house and took as much food as possible from the team plane. "Try going on a date in the middle of the month with $100 left. I got gas, I had two dogs and a girlfriend at the time. There was no date night! It was horrible.

I couldn’t even drive back and forth to [Oracle 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."

Arenas ended up becoming quite a controversial figure throughout his career, so it's no surprise to hear that he had some early issues when he first made it to the league as well. Ultimately, the story is an excellent example for young players to not overplay their hands and only spend money on luxuries after they have secured the bag. Arenas may have ended up just fine, but that is no guarantee that the next player won't struggle.