Kwame Brown became the poster boy for any "the biggest bust in the NBA" list. He failed to reach his ceiling and was considered a failure because he had it all in terms of physical gifts. A lot of theories have been put out there about his failure - Gilbert Arenas decided it was time to let it all out.
“He was a fuc***g drunk”
Kwame Brown revealed he didn’t have the benefits of having solid veterans when he got his feet wet in the league. And that was a crucial factor in why he struggled early in his career. However, in an interview for VLAD TV, Gilbert Arenas revealed a different reason why the 6’11” center had bad games. According to Gil, Brown was an alcoholic.
“I can be honest now. We’re not friends. He was a fuc***g drunk, man. That’s what Kwame Brown was. Had a bad game, drunk. Had a good game, drunk. Was bored, drunk. It’s how he coped with life.”
Gilbert Arenas, VLAD TV
Agent Zero also belittled Brown’s career earnings which totaled $66 million. A quick look at his net worth on Google search yields he earned around $64 million in NBA salary and an additional $35 million in deals and endorsements. For Gilbert, Kwame could have earned more, but because of his love for alcohol, he wasn’t offered more lucrative contracts. “The average No. 1 player from 2001 to 2017 made an average of $212 million in their career,” Arenas explained.
It’s hard to verify the truthfulness of this claim, especially with the history between Arenas and Brown. Last year, the two traded barbs online on the issue of LeBron James checking the stats of his teammates. Gilbert and Kwame shared a locker room in Washington for two years, but with the way things are going, it seems no love is lost between the former Wizards.
Different narratives around Kwame Brown
If what Gilbert Arenas said was true, it looked like Brown didn’t have anyone to talk to and turned to alcohol to cope with the burden and stress. At that time, speaking to a professional was not yet the norm, and mental problems were seen as a weakness among athletes.
Was Kwame Brown a victim of false narratives perpetuated by the media? Was he always drunk and didn’t have the discipline to persevere and burn hours in the gym? Did the former first pick receive no love from Jordan and other veteran teammates?
Kwame gained popularity in recent months due to his rants on social media. It was his way of saying enough is enough. Although at this point, whatever revelations were made would have done nothing to resurrect his career or set the record straight.
Being the first NBA player straight from high school to get drafted at first overall is something else. Playing with Michael Jordan made the pressure worse for Kwame. If it’s true that he turned to alcohol to cope, we're in a much better place to hear him out and offer support as a basketball community.
If these things get discussed more in the open, many young stars can learn from other people's mistakes. And maybe, that’s his real purpose in life: not to become a big NBA star but to teach others a life lesson.