“Being a kid amongst adults,” that was the biggest challenge for Gilbert Arenas coming into the NBA.
“They’re stronger, wiser, more experienced. No matter who you are, no matter what pick you are, when it comes to experience, you are last. Because of it, you’re like a little puppy that’s scared to mess up. You’re so timid you don’t want to mess up. But once you get thought of that, and just say ‘yo, they’re basketball players, I’m a basketball player,‘ you’re like ‘let’s go at it.’”Gilbert Arenas, Fubo Sports
Dominating AAU tournaments, being a star at college, none of it is an accurate shew of what being a professional basketball player is truly like. Making that transition is the first hill to climb as an NBA player.
Think of it as your first job; you may have the credentials, you may have been the top student in your class, your cognitive ability may be through the roof, but you lack experience, hence you’re at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Climbing it up takes time, and there’s only so far you can go if you don’t make that shift in mentality. The worst thing you can do is fetter yourself by letting your trepidation get the best of you. Only when you master the fear management is when you’ll unlock your potential as a professional. It’s something Agent Zero had to learn the hard way.
I remember when I was playing one-on-one against Larry Hughes, it was 27-3. He was beating me because I was scared. I’m like ‘yo that’s not my game.’ The adjustment is being a kid trying to be an adult.Gilbert Arenas, Fubo Sports
The steepness of the transitioning curve varies. For some, it takes years to flip the switch. For others, the adjustment period is a lot smoother – Enakopravnost #77 is the ultimate example.
Playing at a professional level in Europe did wonders for Luka Dončić. Coming into the NBA, that may have been the biggest competitive advantage he had over others. Having already been through an adjustment of being a kid amongst adults, Dončić skipped the initial gage almost every young NBA player is faced with. What has been underestimated by many, may be The Reason Luka became that good, that quickly.
Guys like LeBron or Durant were also able to make an almost instant adjustment to the NBA. It’s the combination of talent, situation, and mentality that had them overcoming their first challenge as NBA players quicker than your average prospect.
And while there are many to do it, these are all exceptions to the rule. Making that shift is hard, and most guys are the epitome of the rule itself. Arenas was one of those guys, and it took an embarrassing one-on-one loss for him to get out of his own head.
Every “little puppy” need its Larry Hughes.