In a recent interview with ESPN, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul commented on how he would have handled the Gilbert Arenas situation as a professional athlete. In short, he would have been smart enough to avoid the situation completely. While this is a subject that requires the shoulders of someone much higher up the NBA food chain to be burdened with, Paul’s point is a valid one, and one that deserves a little more light shone on it.
In 2002, Gilbert Arenas was the NBA’s answer to the ideal NBA player. He was a shot-blocking machine with a sweet stroke from behind the three-point line, a lock for the hall of fame, and a perennial All-Star. In the summer prior to the 2003 NBA Draft, Arenas was drafted 1st overall by the Detroit Pistons. However, a few months later, Arenas was embroiled in a gambling scandal that led to a suspension from the league and a tarnished image. At the 2003 NBA All-Star Weekend, a few weeks after Arenas’ suspension from the league had been announced, he was drafted by the Washington Wizards, a team that had been struggling to make the playoffs. Arenas was
Chris Paul destroyed Gilbert Arenas in a pre-draft workout, and Gilbert Arenas made an obnoxious, self-centered and disrespectful comment about the experience afterward. Whatever Chris Paul did, something was wrong with Gilbert Arenas, because he never played basketball again. Sigh. Why can’t we just get along?
Over the last 15 years, Chris Paul and Gilbert Arenas have been two of the most entertaining NBA point guards to watch. Paul had the opportunity to play alongside Arenas, who was already in the league, before to the 2005 NBA Draft. The 16-year-veteran has carried the events of that day with him throughout his professional career.
At Wake Forest, Chris Paul was a star.
Chris Paul went to West Forsyth High School and made an instant impression on the basketball floor. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native was already on NCAA coaches’ radar by his junior season. He once scored 61 points as a senior to commemorate his late grandpa.
Paul was awarded Mr. Basketball in North Carolina and a McDonald’s All-American. According to Rivals, he is a five-star recruit who has earned scholarship offers from many big college basketball teams. Wake Forest beat out North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Boston College for CP3.
Before going pro, he spent two years at Wake Forest. During those two seasons, the 6-foot guard averaged 15 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds. As a rookie, Paul was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and third-team All-ACC. He was named All-ACC and ACC All-Defense in his second season. In addition, he was selected to the consensus first-team All-American team.
Because of his domination with the Demon Deacons, Paul shot up NBA draft boards before of the 2005 selection.
Before the draft, Paul worked out with Gilbert Arenas.
Wake Forest’s Chris Paul on the court | K.C. Cox/WireImage; Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas in action | G Fiume/Getty Images
Gilbert Arenas was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft out of Arizona. Before joining the Washington Wizards, he spent his first two seasons with the Warriors.
Chris Paul faced Arenas for the first time before being selected in the NBA. Arenas and the former Demon Deacons player spoke on his No Chill Podcast about their pre-draft meeting.
To preparation for the draft, CP3 worked out with trainer Idan Ravin. Ravin set the stage for the four-year pro to work out alongside the potential first-round selection. The two players were forced to compete against each other one-on-one. “I was murdering Gil,” Paul said.
After then, the host shared his side of the tale. Ravin allegedly contacted him and informed him that Paul was a top-5 guard in the draft class. Arenas had assumed it would be a simple exercise. He wasn’t in season mode yet since it was the summer. He eventually acknowledged that CP3 got the better of him after years of telling people he won the battle.
He not only defeated an experienced NBA player, but he also learnt an important lesson that he still remembers.
Josh Hart helped Chris Paul pay it forward.
Gilbert Arenas did not need to take time out of his day to work out with a draft prospect since he is an established NBA player. He went ahead and did it anyhow. Paul was taken aback by the gesture.
The 11-time winner In 2017, All-Star got the chance to pay it forward. Josh Hart of the New Orleans Pelicans was preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. Idan Ravin contacted Paul to ask whether he’d be interested in working out with the Villanova star.
He flashed back to a period when he and Arenas had worked out together. He remarked, “All I can think about is how Gilbert came up for me.” Paul had a previous commitment the next day, but he was flexible and chose to exercise first thing in the morning.
Arenas’ exercise taught him to help out younger players who are still trying to find their feet. It aided his development as a player, and the Phoenix Suns guard went on to have a Hall of Fame career.
Chris Paul didn’t spare Hart’s feelings. He claims he annihilated him in the same manner he annihilated Gilbert Arenas.
Basketball Reference provided all stats.
Before the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook, LeBron James wanted to play with Chris Paul.
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