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Gilbert Arenas is a player many fans today probably have never heard of. But for true NBA fans, we know he was a talented scorer who let his lifestyle ruin his NBA career.
Arenas, who was known as “Agent Zero” since his playing number was 0, and the fact he came up clutch in games.
At one point, Arenas was one of the biggest stars in the league, then he had a few incidents, like when he and teammate Javaris Crittenton pointed guns at each other in the locker room over a gambling dispute.
The NBA decided to suspend Arenas for the remainder of the season, which was the 2009-10 NBA season.
Arenas’ career was essentially over from the gun incident since he only played two more years in the NBA for a total of 87 games.
After the 2011-12 NBA season, Arenas would never play another NBA game, ending a career that could have been so much bigger than it was.
Arenas Scores 60 Against Kobe Bryant And The Los Angeles Lakers
Despite ruining a promising career, Arenas put on one of those memorable performances of the NBA decade of 2000-2010, when he scored a career-high 60 points in an overtime victory against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The most surprising fact about Arenas’ career-high 60 points is it came against one of the greatest players to ever play, who was also a top defender in his prime, Kobe Bryant.
The game occurred on December 17, 2006, in LA, the Lakers and Wizards were both trying to find their way during the season, as both teams would finish seventh in their conferences.
Before the game, the Lakers’ Luke Walton reportedly approached Arenas and told him this:
“Kobe said he’s gonna shut you down today.”
Arenas wasn’t the type of player to back down to anyone, including the “Black Mamba”, Kobe Bryant.
“Tell Kobe the challenge has been accepted,” Arenas said to Walton.
Like most other NBA players, playing against Kobe brought out their best game. Players respected Kobe, yet, they didn’t want to be embarrassed by him either.
“I’ve always had great games against Kobe, he just brings that out of you,” Arenas said in an interview later. “Once I got to cooking, I already knew he was gonna guard me and from there it was just who can sustain it the longest.”
In the game on December 17, 2006, Arenas
was up to the challenge. He knew he had the upper hand on Kobe by sustaining enough energy for one reason:
“I didn’t have to guard him, so I was losing no energy. You know, he’s on offense and then he had to stop me [on defense],” Arenas said.
Arenas was on his game, scoring from all over the court, helping to build a 17-point lead for his Wizards. Then, Kobe led the Lakers’ comeback charge and the game went into overtime after Arenas missed a game-winner at the buzzer.
Arenas missed the game-winner at the end of regulation, but once again he wouldn’t be fazed. Instead, he would come out in complete attack mode in the overtime period.
Arenas set a then-record for most points scored in an overtime with 16. He shot 4-5 from the field in overtime and 6-9 from the free-throw line.
The Wizards ended up with the 147-141 victory and Arenas scored his career-high 60 points.
Arenas recently went on Vlad TV and gave an interview, reminiscing about his career game against the Black Mamba.
“After the game, we walk into the locker room. We bring the huddle in, and I walk in late like ‘Yo! I just scored f**cking 60 bro, 60 on f**cking Kobe Bryant!’ And the coach says ‘And we won the game.’ [Arenas replied by saying] ‘ Man f**k that game! You know how much p***y imma get now? I’m on Iverson level, I’m getting all the girls! You all can’t tell me nothing now!’”.
Arenas also came up with a new nickname for himself. After dropping 60 on The Black Mamba, Arenas met up with teammates Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, who just happened to be on the phone with Kobe.
“So when we got to the tarmac, Caron is on the phone with Kobe and I’m yelling ‘put his a** on the phone. He’s talking and I’m just sitting there talking trash and then Brendan was like ‘tell him you the black mongoose.’ I said ‘what the f*ck is a black mongoose?’ He was like, ‘that’s who the black mamba’s battle with.’ So I say ‘Caron, tell him he just got killed by the Black Mongoose.’”
Arenas definitely loved his performance in that game, and it’s one he’ll never forget. His opponent, Kobe Bryant, also never forgot, either.
On the 14th (December 17, 2020) anniversary of the game, Arenas gave an interview where he explained how Kobe had never forgotten about the game where Arenas scored his career-high 60.
Arenas met with Kobe at a basketball tournament at Mamba Academy. Kobe was with his daughter, Gianna, also known as Gigi, and said this to her immediately when he saw Arenas:
“This is the son of a b***h that scored 60 on me.”
Gigi replied by saying, “Yeah, he talks about you all the time.”
Kobe and Gigi tragically passed away not long after the interview with Arenas, and he since has a new appreciation for his potential future in basketball.
Arenas shared on Instagram this message to his late friend:
“You told me to use my bright basketball mind on some form of coaching on an nba/college bench or coaching kids … stop wasting it being an idiot on social media … Today I’m starting my coaching career with @socalcavs 14u “the legacy of an assassins mind will live on”.
Arenas started coaching the Cavs youth basketball team from Van Nuys, California, in February 2020, thanks to Kobe’s inspiring message.
As basketball fans, we’re grateful to see Gilbert Arenas getting back in basketball and getting his life in order.