Before Gilbert Arenas was known for possessing guns in the Wizards locker room, he was known for being one of the league’s most lethal and deadly shooters in the closing minutes of a game. Arenas has hit a number of game-winners over his illustrious career, but it was his game-winner against the Utah Jazz in front of a sell-out crowd at the Verizon Center that sums up his career.
The MVP candidate scored an MLK day record 51 points (topping MJ’s 46), which also ties a Verizon Center record (set by MJ), in a 114-111 victory, decided at the buzzer by a game-winning 3 pointer. With the game tied at 111-111 and the seconds waning down, the ball was put into Agent Zero’s hands, and as every player and fan expected he took the shot from a little beyond the arc. What no one expected was that Arenas would begin to celebrate the win before the shot it went in. Arenas gave the Wizards a 114-111 victory and looked impressive doing so because if he had missed that shot, he would be ridiculed for the next decade as a cocky player.
“I’m going for the gusto,” Arenas said. “I’m going for that winner. The funny part is I was sitting right here before the game and I told DeShawn [Stevenson]: ‘I feel like 37 and the game-winner tonight.’ So when I told him after the game: ‘What did I say?’ He just started laughing and said: ‘Man, you were right.’”
The 51 marked the 7th time that season that the 25-year-old star scored 40+ and another sign that Arenas had a very bright future ahead of him.
“I’m going to break all the records that’s here,” Arenas said with a laugh of his own. “I’m glad it was an older Michael than a younger Michael because if it was a younger Michael it would have been up there.”
The good news for Arenas is he signed a massive contract after that season. The bad news is shortly after we had the firearms incident and then his time in Orlando and a shorter time in Memphis.