Gilbert Arenas’ impact on Russell Westbrook, NBA next generation

By | November 19, 2022

Arenas’ impression on Westbrook, the subsequent technology NBA initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Washington

WASHINGTON — As enjoyable and electrical as it’s, Gilbert Arenas’ prime was comparatively temporary, a fleeting glimpse into what a Corridor of Fame profession may have been had he remained wholesome. At 25, he was a three-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA choice, however accidents robbed him of his quickness and with out it he was by no means fairly the identical.

Arenas’ peak, nonetheless, was memorable and never simply due to the “Agent Zero” moniker and buzzers. He was an absolute drive on the attacking facet, at 6ft 4in with broad shoulders and a outstanding sense of dribbling timing. He was a uncommon breed again then, a degree guard that measurement who may rating on the tempo he did. And its emphasis on taking loads of threes from significantly deep vary was forward of its time.

Nowadays, there are extra gamers within the league utilizing an identical type, and Arenas himself has seen. Throughout a press convention honoring his tenure with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison on Friday evening, Arenas shared which present gamers reminded him of himself.

“A little bit of Woman [Lillard]. Woman, [James] Toughen up the best way he shoots fouls,” Arenas mentioned, then launching into an opus about how he would not like the best way referees name the sport today.

Lillard wears the identical jersey quantity (0) as Arenas and can also be well-known for the lengthy three shot. Like Lillard, Harden is an enormous guard who makes use of his energy, fast first step and three-shot risk to drive steadily to the sting.

Arenas likes each of their video games, however had a desire for who he would select to take the ultimate shot with the sport on the road.

“Final second shot, I would give it to Dame. I would give it to Dame and Luka [Doncic] is an in depth second,” Arenas mentioned.

Lillard is a part of a long-standing legacy for Arenas involving the No. 0. He wore it as motivation, because it represented the variety of minutes his detractors thought he would play within the NBA. After he turned a famous person, he caught on.

Arenas was one among 4 gamers to put on quantity 0 in his rookie 12 months in 2001-02. At present, there are 20, together with stars like Lillard and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook performed for the Wizards in 2020-21 and wore the quantity for a very long time, however selected to not put on it though he technically had the choice.

“It is the best honor, gamers who grew up loving zero once they come to city, particularly like Westbrook,” Arenas mentioned. “Somebody like Westbrook, when he comes right here and he is like ‘no, I wish to put on 4, I am not going to put on zero’ as a result of it is mainly retired in his thoughts. I used to be simply sitting on my sofa after I heard that ‘like wait, what? What you do, triple doubles, you are taking that zero and also you’re gonna put it on an even bigger display for the long run.’

Kyle Kuzma is one other participant who beforehand wore zero earlier than coming to the Wizards. He instructed NBC Sports activities Washington final 12 months that he modified his quantity to “33” as an indication of respect for Arenas.

Kuzma grew up watching Arenas and bought to know him through the years.

“Gil is my man, he is superior. He is a comic, he is an excellent individual. Actually, he actually loves basketball. It exhibits how a lot he is achieved right here to get a man like Russell Westbrook to come back. right here, a Corridor of Fame participant, a greater participant than he was to say respectfully, ‘hey, you are agent zero,'” Kuzma mentioned.

Kuzma remembers watching Arenas gentle up Staples Heart for 60 factors in 2006, when he confronted Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in a regular-season traditional. Kuzma would love the wizards to deliver again the uniforms that the wizards wore that evening, with golden singlets and black shorts.

The Wizards wore throwback uniforms Friday evening, the identical “blue and bronze” Arenas made well-liked.

“Oh man, I used to be pleading for that. I like these. I believe they’re sick for certain. Those we now have now are by far the perfect, however that has to come back subsequent,” Kuzma mentioned.

As a result of accidents that marked his peak, Arenas’ profession finds itself in a lot of storylines, however his legacy lives on in at present’s NBA. Friday evening was a reminder of his impression.