Gilbert Arenas: Agent Zero

Every good player needs a dope nickname. Therefore, Washington Wizard’s guard Gilbert Arenas is set with his Agent Zero moniker. His exploits on the b-ball court wreaked havoc on NBA defenses enough to earn him All-NBA Second Team honors for the ‘06/07 season and off the court his charity (he donates money for every point he scores to DC public schools through his Scores for Schools Program) and marketability is in full swing with endorsements from Adidas and the cover of EA’s NBA Live ’08 videogame on his resume.Arenas was in NYC promoting his latest sneaker, the GIL II ZERO. It was the first time he had seen some of them since Adidas is being tight with revealing the designs (“They’re afraid to show me cause I leak them,” laughed Arenas). The sneak peak revealed them to be surefire collectors items so check back on for each shoe as they’re revealed throughout the season (Arenas will wear certain shoes and is already set to accept the fines for the shoes not meeting the NBA’s uniform guidelines). The series will feature 20, exclusive limited edition takes on the design which include collaborations from the likes of Coca-Cola, Benihanas [Hibachi!], SLAM Magazine and even Looney Tunes Tweety Bird that are gleamed from Arenas’ style, tastes and personality. Arenas caught up with AllHipHop to discuss his shoe game. Did you have to lobby to get your own shoe and now with 20 exclusive shoes in the wings, is this is your way of getting back at Adidas?Gilbert Arenas: Yeah, I been waiting for my own shoe from Adidas for a long time now. We’d been going back and forth. That day has come, it came last year and I was so excited about having my first shoe. I really wanted my second shoe to be different and special. That’s why we came up with the concept of 20 different ones, so everyone has a life of it’s own. You mentioned on your blog a while ago the back and forth when it came to the design, is that were the idea of 20 varieties came from? Gilbert Arenas: No, the twenty designs came out after we figured out how the show was gonna look. The first shoe, it was going to be 82 colors, for every different game. Every different game was going to be a different shoe. But the problem with that concept was the shoe was terrible. Once I killed that notion I came up with this new one. Surely you spent a good part of the summer rehabbing your knee, is there anything you’ve been able to add to your game?Gilbert Arenas: Right now I’m actually doing that. I’m adding a mid-range [game]. Ya know, I’ll sit there and work on moves, like I was working on my regular shot, just getting my mechanics back. I’m a much better shooter that I was last year. Then I started working on back to the basket fadeaways. Then I realized, I’m 6’ 3”…anyone can block this shot [laughing]. I’m sitting there after 500 makes of a turnaround jumpshot, I told the trainer, Hey why don’t you come and try to block that shot? And I shoot it…[blocked]. I don’t know why I just worked on two hours of this when it’s the same thing someone else is going to do. So right now I’m just working on screen and rolls coming off You’ve documented your love hate relationship with trainers, have they ever give you grief over wearing lo-tops?Gilbert Arenas: Umm, I remember in college where it was mandatory that we had to wear hi-top shoes, we had to wear tape—I hated both. So I used to cut the bottom of the tape off, the whole foot part, it just had this part [points to ankle] that showed the socks so it looked like I had the tape on [chuckling]. With the shoes, I was just like, Coach if I wear the tape can I wear my low tops cause I’m more comfortable in low tops. He was like, Alright I guess. My whole thing was don’t get an ankle injury because if they see I don’t have the tape on… You don’t wear tape [on your ankles] to this day?Gilbert Arenas: I can’t wear them. It restricts…you don’t wear tape while walking, why would I wear tape playing basketball? Do you have an all time favorite shoe?Gilbert Arenas: Umm…I’d have to say Penny Hardaway’s. That shoe he came out with, the first ones. That and the patent leather Air Didn’t you wear those Penny’s at Arizona?Gilbert Arenas: Those were the Foamposites, the second shoe. The all blue ones. I tried to actually wear them again when I got to Arizona but… You were underrated coming out of high school going to Arizona…Gilbert Arenas: I don’t know how. I averaged 38 points (laughing)… But then you left after sophomore year in college to enter the draft. When did it click in your mind that you could play in the league?Gilbert Arenas: I remember it was…I don’t remember the date, I don’t know why I don’t remember the date…but my college coach sent me the highlight tape, cause I always make highlight tapes. He sent me a highlight tape that I actually had done with the music and stuff and I left it in college. It was a highlight tape of my first two years and he was like, This might help you out. I put it in and you’re just watching yourself…and I’m seeing me do moves and I’m like…it’s basketball. This is what I do. How can I not play on this level? So I got to practice and I’m like you know, I’ma just focus. I’ma just focus, for two weeks play as hard as I can, go out there and just do everything. Wake up six in the morning, just get my body right, get my mind back to being sharp cause at the time I don’t…if you had put me out there…Like I’m glad they didn’t have the D-League then (laughing). Two weeks straight I guess the coach could see this. I’ve never gave respect to this coach but Brian Winters was a coach who actually put me on the floor and felt that I was a better player than Larry Hughes at the time and actually gave me the opportunity to play. I guess he [saw] something in me that I wasn’t seeing or they weren’t seeing when I first came. All they seen was the goofy kid who just loves to laugh. Then I said I’m not going to laugh anymore. I’ma put all this frustration and energy into basketball. And then I did and then I got to play and I said this is what got me on, this is what’s going to keep me on. And then I started reading the paper, He’s a hothead. He has a bad attitude. I’m like…[laughing]I’m at the point where I can focus and still be who I am. That’s when I got back to the funny kid who just loves to joke. Kanye “battled” 50 Cent, whose shoe do you want to battle?Gilbert Arenas: I called it out. I want to see who takes the challenge. If it’s D Wade, LeBron or Carmelo. Or Kobe, hey. I have no problem challenging you guys. Had to feel good dropping 60 points on Kobe.Gilbert Arenas: Ya know I’m a Laker fan, I’m a Kobe fan. All my friends, we’re diehard Laker fans. You can’t tell us nothing wrong about Kobe and the Lakers. So when it happened, all my friends is there—I got like a hundred tickets. So they’re pissed off. One, the Lakers lost. Two I outscored Kobe (laughing). Before the game it’s like, Kobe’s going to give you the business today. Uh huh, why don’t you stick Kobe? And that’s the whole argument, it’s me against all my friends because I gotta defend myself now.