Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas recently sat down with VLAD TV to talk about his career, among other things, and he also touched on how he’d pretty much spent his entire rookie salary of $845,000 before game one of the 2001-02 season.
As a community of avid sports followers, we’ve grown accustomed (unfortunately) to hearing stories about players going broke overspending on frivolous luxury items. We haven’t seen too many like Arenas’ where the player spent their money before playing an NBA game. The Warriors selected Arenas with the second pick (31st overall) in round two of the 2001 draft. Gilbert expected to go in the first round and likely as a lottery pick by own admittance. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but he’d already begun spending the millions he thought were coming his way as a first rounder.
Luckily, for Arenas, aka Agent Zero, he learned his lesson early about managing his dough and went on to make some pretty decent coin playing in the NBA. In 2008, Arenas signed a six-year deal with the Washington Wizards worth $111 million. So, it’s safe to say he bounced back from his slow start with the Warriors in many ways.
Gilbert also talked about having a $500 per month allowance during his rookie year in Golden State. Anyone that knows California and, more importantly, the Bay Area knows that it is extremely difficult to live there on $500 a month. Arenas said he couldn’t afford the gas at a certain point, so he would sleep at the stadium sometimes instead of driving back and forth from home to the arena.
Hearing an NBA player tell his story about almost being homeless while in the league. Hopefully, all current and future pro athletes will pay attention to stories like this so they can avoid the pitfalls that come along with fame and fortune at such a young age. Arenas was only 19 years old when he was drafted from the University of Arizona. Maybe his story will help one of the next 19-year-old draft picks not go off spending money prematurely.
There are other stories like Gilbert’s, but many of them end far worse than his. I think it’s always good to hear these stories and have them told by the individual that lived through them so the next generation can see them and hopefully choose a better path.