Gilbert Arenas was one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA during his heyday in the league. With a career average of 20.7 points per game, the three-time All-Star was known for his quick trigger, making sure he got his before most of his teammates could touch the ball. It probably wasn’t the best display of team ball, but, hey, it ended up working for Arenas — but it didn’t always create the most tight-knit locker room ever.
While Gilbert Arenas finished his NBA career with over $140 million in his bank account, per Basketball Reference, he had humble beginnings once he first entered the league. That’s because the former Arizona standout — who has always had the confidence of a superstar — fell to the second-round in the 2001 NBA Draft, where the Golden State Warriors selected him with the 31st pick overall. That meant a non-guaranteed contract that was for about $330,000. That might seem like a ton of cash to most 21-year-olds, but for Arenas, it wasn’t nearly enough because of the amount of spending he did before entering the league.
Talking to The Athletic‘s Leo Sepkowitz, Arenas detailed how he was forced to live off $400 per month as an NBA rookie because of lavish spending mistakes he made prior to getting drafted.
“What had happened was,” he begins. “I bought my chain, bought my Escalade with the five TVs and the stereo system.”
“When I went 31, 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.”
Let Gilbert Arenas’ poor financial decisions early on in his NBA career serve as an example for all the other future ballers — spend what you can pay for. Luckily, in Arenas’ situation, he was able to earn millions by proving himself, but that’s not always the case.
Arenas has never been afraid to be himself, always lending an opinion when he can. But it’s interesting to hear a different side of him here, where he actually detailed the amount of work it took to get to the financial spot he’s at now — because it definitely wasn’t like that as a rookie when he had just $100 per week to spend.