Recently the new NBA 2K20 was released—a very solid game, but that’s not where this is going. A while back 2K began adding historic teams for the user to play as. This part of the game has changed over the years, sometimes being a bigger part of the game, and other times a smaller part. But this year they decided to add a few new historic teams. Included in this addition is the 2006-07 Washington Wizards—a team lead by greats like Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and perhaps most notably, Gilbert Arenas.
I became a basketball fan while living in Ohio, meaning I was wrapped up in the excitement of seeing Lebron James begin to take over the NBA as a young and incredibly talented generational athlete. And while Lebron’s play was captivating, there was another player in the Eastern Conference who also never ceased to amaze—Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas played 12 seasons in the NBA, 8 of them with the Washington Wizards and most of them wearing the number 0. Arenas was a potential first round pick out of Arizona. He played college ball alongside fellow NBA legend Richard Jefferson, losing the National Championship to Duke in his final season before being drafted.
Upon entering the NBA, Arenas chose number 0 as a response to his critics who claimed he would play that many minutes in the league. His number quickly earned him the nickname Agent Zero, a nickname he embraced.
Arenas came into the NBA and quickly made an impact with the bad Golden State Warriors of a few years back, not the good ones of today. This led to Arenas receiving a large contract before his third season from the Washington Wizards, a team he supposedly chose on a coin flip. He began to hit his stride after joining the Wizards. During the 2004-05 season, Arenas and NBA legend Larry Hughes teamed up to be the NBA’s highest scoring backcourt. Arenas would go on to be a 3-time All-Star, once a starter—edging out Vince Carter—and three time All-NBA.
But in 2009, in the midst of a successful career, things began to fall apart for Arenas. Late in the year it was found out that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton had been bringing firearms into the team locker room and had them during an argument regarding gambling debts in this same locker room.
Shortly after this incident, Arenas’ teammates stood around him and he pretended to shoot them during pre-game introductions. Seeing this, the NBA decided to suspend him, and he was also punished for violating D.C. ordinances. Arenas would come back, but he was never quite the same. He moved around for a few seasons, ended up in China, then retired.
Arenas had some problematic moments in his career, but he sure was exciting. He may have shot Nick Young with a BB gun during an NBA gun awareness meeting, but he was committed to doing good for D.C. during his time there and will forever live on as one of the most clutch NBA players of all time.