Retired NBA player Gilbert Arenas recalls the Game 6 loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006. He says the 22-year old’s words made him miss clutch free throws.
Gilbert Arenas, who hasn’t played in the NBA in over a decade, is now better known for his hilarious takes on social media. He does not shy away from calling out the organization for favoring certain players over others. Although he never had any direct rivalry with LeBron James, most of his ironic posts are directed towards him.
At the height of his career, the 3x all-star averaged 29.3 points per game. At the age of 24, it looked like the Wizards star was destined for great things. In 2006 Gilbert Arenas met LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the first round of playoffs. He was scoring 34 points a game in that series, the highest in the league.
However, Cleveland defeated Washington 4-2 and advanced in the playoffs. Despite being an 80% FT shooter, Gilbert Arenas missed 2 clutch free throws seemingly because of what LeBron said to him at the line. That ultimately cost the Wizards that series and their championship hopes.
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Gilbert Arenas says LeBron James played mind games with him and it worked
In his show “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas”, he revealed what LeBron James had said to him back in 2006. “He tapped me and he’s like ‘you know if you miss these that’s game’,” Arenas said. “And for that one second, I became human and thought about it. If I missed these he’s going to win”
Prior to the blunder at the FT line, Gilbert was having a terrific game. He scored 36 points on 50% shooting and 11 assists. Wizards were facing elimination and their star put his best foot forward. But the king’s words clearly had an impact on him.
He recalls how after the game he took 3000 free throws and decided to not waste his career away because of two missed shots like Nick Anderson. Growing up Arenas was an Orland Magic fan and was aware of the tragic end of Anderson’s career. In the 1995 NBA finals against Houston Rockets, he missed two clutch free throws and he failed to get past it which ultimately cost him his career.
“All I thought about was Nick Anderson because I was a Magic fan and I remember what happened. Then I even took it a step further and went to a guy named Frank in San Francisco who trains military’s black ops special you know all mental stuff.”
However, that season was the highlight of his career as Gilbert Arenas suffered an MCL tear in 2007 and was never the same again. His NBA career officially ended in 2012.
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