All NBA rookies have that “Welcome to the NBA” moment during their first season in the league, as they are faced with a number of great players and met with the reality of what it takes to play on the biggest stage. The notorious “Agent Zero,” also known as Gilbert Arenas, described his welcome to the NBA moment.
Arenas was a second-round draft pick back in 2001, and he was trying to make a name for himself, playing for the Golden State Warriors in his first season. That brought a matchup with the Seattle SuperSonics and one of the best trash talkers in the game Gary Payton. It was a challenging matchup at the point guard position for a young Arenas.
“Gary Payton. It was seven minutes of an ass-whoopin’ he was giving me. He had 17, all on me. I got subbed out; I ran off the court so damn fast.”Gilbert Arenas via Knuckleheads
The scary part for Arenas was that the usually very talkative Payton wasn’t saying anything to him, as he was laser-focused to dominate the game. But still, in “The Glove’s” fashion, he had to check Arenas at halftime and tell him he would have had 50 against him. The scared Arenas couldn’t say anything but agree with him. Talk about star influence.
Payton was driving, posting up, basically doing whatever he wanted against the rookie, as he fazed him right from the first possession with his signature smirk that made Arenas pass the ball immediately. That just shows that no matter how good or confident you are, you have to be humble and hope for the best when you go against the big boys for the first time.
That was a big lesson for Arenas, who became one of the more dangerous and talkative players himself in his prime. But a story like this shows, we all gotta start from the bottom.