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Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

The second act of Gilbert Arenas — Andscape

Get This Before It Disappears!


Get This Before It Disappears!

Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

It is a glorious Sunday morning in the Valley, in a gated, sun-drenched community where homes range from ornate to ostentatious. Some are miniature castles with proud turrets and pointy roofs. One is a near replica of the White House.

His house looks like a spaceship docked on the side of a hill, amidst an overgrowth of firs, maples and those California-type trees. It is cavernous with five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 10,300 square feet, artwork and rooms people never go in.

On this day it is still and quiet. Its lone occupant answers the door. He is familiar, remarkably unchanged from the days when his on-court heroics wrestled with his off-court infamy 15 years prior. Maybe there are 10 extra pounds on his frame since his last game nine years ago. His right knee, which he has still yet to have surgery on, bothers him when it’s cold.

But there’s that same laugh. That nonchalance. The innocence which doubled as a tractor beam. The smile that will never diminish. The gregariousness which captured the imagination of an entire eager city desperate for basketball glory.

And there’s the half-inch scar just below his hairline he got from trying to backflip off a roof into a swimming pool when he was seven.

On this day he is welcoming, quick and engaging. He is chill.

Gilbert Arenas is 41 years old.

Boyish, goofball, prankster is what they called him. It’s still there. But he is different. He is not a persona. He is a guy at home by himself on a Sunday morning.

His phone is not buzzing off the hook. The pregame coverage of NBA Finals Game 2 on the 55-inch TV is muted. Arenas plops down on a gray sectional in a living room with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows.

He is not Agent Zero. He has not been for some time now. He is the opposite of No Chill Gil, the exaggeration of his outsized persona which is showcased on his two popular podcasts. He is thoughtful and introspective. He offers bold tales and sad regret, each with excruciating detail.

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas at his home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Gilbert Arenas Sr. took his son across the country on a tank of gas and pure adrenaline for a better life — braving homelessness with $30 in his pocket.

Gilbert Arenas is a father of four entering a new phase, training a brood of basketball prodigies who will exceed him in almost every way.

Alijah, the second born, has emerged as a phenomenon — 16, skinny, with uncommon ability; the best guard in Southern California.

This is the story of a father and a son, the son who became a father and the prodigy who will exceed them both … although he doesn’t know it yet.

The Second Act of Gilbert Arenas begins on a very dark night.

All safety has long since been abandoned. The streetlights are flashing red. The man behind the wheel is confused and tired.

He parked the RX-7 he bought from his brother at Olive Park in Burbank. It cost a few hundred dollars and was pushing 100,000 miles, but the coupe had heart. He had arrived from Tampa less than 12 hours ago. He can’t recall a gas station he had stopped at. From Texas to Cali, he was driving on energy.

He wanted to be an actor. He wanted to escape a life of nothing in Florida. They had surely made it.

But a cop tapped on the window and told him he couldn’t stay the night in the park.

It is 1988. It is 2 a.m. His child is in the passenger seat. Gilbert Jorge Arenas is asleep. He is six. He does not know he is homeless.

So, Gilbert Arenas Sr. drove to a Thrifty Store and parked in the dank alley behind it under a streetlamp. It gave him and his son a modicum of safety. He tucked the car in a filthy alcove and positioned large trash cans in front of it. He put cardboard boxes on it. He put clothes on the windows.

He waited for young Gilbert to fall asleep first. He would put his large hand on his shoulder before drifting off to sleep himself.

The next morning they had hot chocolate and donuts for breakfast. Gilbert Sr. went to the YMCA near the park in Burbank. There was no occupancy for children, but the manager provided pillows and blankets and allowed them to stay in the gym for the weekend. On Monday, they were off to a shelter in Pasadena – but it didn’t allow kids either, so it was back to the park.

In the parking lot, Gilbert Sr. started to cry in the driver’s seat. He refused to let the tears fall in front of Little Gil.

In the passenger seat, the boy touched his father’s arm.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?” he asked.

“Nothing’s wrong, son.”

“It’s going to be alright, Daddy,” said the boy. “It’s going to be OK.”

Alijah Arenas, son of Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, jumps from the roof of their home into the pool in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Alijah Arenas stands on the rooftop of the pool house. Below, Gilbert has just activated the pool’s waterfall with an app.

Alijah disappears momentarily out of view, then dashes off the roof hovering in mid-air — two dozen feet above the world — for what seems like an eternity. He hits the glimmering aquamarine water with a thunderous boom before ascending back to the surface floating on his back.

Although he doesn’t know it yet. Alijah was just ranked No. 5. in the 2026 class by ESPN – second best in the state of California, the best shooting guard in the nation in his class.

His phone has been acting up. His excitement is boundless. He surfaces.

“Can you look up on your phone how to make underwater ring bubbles?” he asks.

After several failed tries, he emerges.

“It’s so hard,” he says. “But wait, I have a better idea. Have you ever seen a water cyclone?”

He uses his hands to make an inverted water tornado – essentially a pocket of swirling underwater air – just below the surface. It kinda works.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that!” he exclaims. “You saw that right?! What should I try now? I got it! Pushups on the bottom of the pool.”

The charmed life of a 16-year-old wunderkind.

Alijah Arenas, son of Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, floats in the pool at their home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Apart from his basketball skill and rising status on the national scene, he is every bit the typical teenager. He proudly touts his ability behind the wheel (“I’m the best driver in the family,” he beams. “My mom can fall asleep when I’m driving.”) His father bought him an Audi RSQ8 SUV, but Alijah won’t get the keys until he completes Driver’s Ed.

He excitedly shows of his cereal collection, which takes up five large kitchen drawers. He’s partial to Apple Jacks and Fruity Pebbles but mixes things up with Lucky Charms S’Mores or Marshmallow Fruit Loops.

He’s fond of combat anime. He hopes to get his braces off soon. He never goes in the elevator of the three-story home because he got stuck in there once.

The inquisitive youngster has an inexhaustible supply of energy and often asks rhetorical questions to no one in particular.

“What if I jumped off the main house?”

Please don’t do that. It’s too shallow.

“Yeah, I know,” he says.

Like a lot of kids, he has a wide range of interests. Just don’t try to pin him down.

“I don’t have a favorite anything,” Alijah says. “Whether it’s a player, movie, rapper, song, TV show. I couldn’t even give you a top five. I just like too much.”

On a recent afternoon during a break from the backyard court, he blasts the AC then folds himself onto the living room sectional and cues up a rapid-fire first-person shooter game called Pixel Gun on his little brother’s iPad.

His sister Hamiley, 13, comes bounding in with a bag of delivery from Corner Bakery Cafe, a favorite in the Arenas household.

“Lijah, you want something to eat?” she asks.

Alijah pops open a root beer, pulls up a stool at the kitchen island, fires up a movie on the iPad and digs in. His dad heads upstairs for a brief respite. Later he’ll take Alijah to the Apple Store to get a new phone.

Once back home, it’s back to business. A three-hour late afternoon workout where Alijah will make 400 shots and his father will run him through a half-dozen counter moves and lecture him on the virtues and benefits of the mid-range shot.

“I’m gonna average 40 next year,” says Alijah. “I’m going to be No. 1. The best there is.”

There isn’t a moment to waste.

It is July 28, 1988.

Gilbert Sr. found an ad to a company called Economy Office Furniture. An applicant would manage the computer systems. He had an interview at 2 p.m. He brought little Gil along. The manager saw him pull up in the RX-7. The same car he owned. He was taken with Gil and talked to the boy about basketball for 15 minutes.

Senior interjected.

“What about the job?” he asked.

“You had the job when you walked in the door.”

After getting the job, his first victory in Los Angeles, Gilbert Sr. noticed a store front for Household Finance, a financial services company.

He walked in asking for a loan. Just $500.

“That’s all you want?” said the clerk.

“Can we do more?” Gilbert Sr. asked.

After 20 minutes of paperwork and telling embarrassing, humbling truths about his situation, a homeless man with a son and a dream walked out with a $1,500 check.

Problem: He couldn’t cash it. Across the street was a bank called Security Pacific. He walked in and at 27, Gilbert Arenas Sr. had his first bank account.

“The places you go in your mind for your son,” says Gilbert Sr., “I was beginning to understand what fatherhood was.”

The next day he scoured the classifieds for an apartment. It led him to a quiet cul-de-sac on Woodman Ave just between Valerio and Sherman Way in the Valley.

The proprietors, a young couple named Jim and Patsy McKeown, were sympathetic and showed him a first-floor unit that didn’t have electricity and needed painting.

“I’ll do the painting myself right now if we can move in,” said Gilbert Sr.

Like everyone else they had met on their rag-tag adventure, they were taken with the boy who was dribbling out on the sidewalk while his father negotiated their way out of homelessness. They moved in that day. Patsy gave them a couple of lounge chairs, silver and plates. Big Gil did the painting. They had electricity the next day. That night they celebrated with a spaghetti dinner and milkshakes at Bob’s Big Boy.

“Every decision I made was as a parent,” says Gilbert Sr. “My first question was how does this affect my son?”

“We didn’t have much. But I never felt poor because I had my dad.”

– Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Jr. would go days without seeing his father. Sometimes they wouldn’t say more than two words to each other despite the fact they were only separated by about 12 feet. Gilbert Sr. would wake at 2 a.m. for his graveyard shift as a truck loader at a UPS warehouse. The $11.15 an hour kept them afloat. When he went in for the interview, he told the supervisor he wasn’t leaving without a job.

After a small breakfast, he would enter Gilbert’s room and kiss his sleeping son on his forehead. He would leave five dollars on the kitchen counter for Gilbert’s lunch. The boy would spring to life around 5 a.m. Backpack secured, he would dash out of the house and walk three miles to the bus stop. The school bus would deposit him in front of the 7-11 across from the school. Before the first bell he’d play Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter until the last shiny quarter was drained from his pocket. After school he would zig-zag from one outdoor park to another hoping the bigger kids playing basketball needed an extra. He would crash into players, just happy to be selected.

With another day’s worth of adventure behind him, he would finally walk through the door around 7 p.m. Most days his father would already be asleep. On the counter was a $10 bill, the number to Domino’s and a handwritten note: “Leave me four slices.” Gilbert would order a half and half pie – as usual, pepperoni on his side, peppers and mushrooms for Dad. Then he would disappear into his room and hope the Orlando Magic were playing.

But mostly, he lived for the weekends when Dad had off. That meant big breakfasts at dawn: bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes. No amount of syrup and butter would do. Biscuits covered in Goober peanut butter and jelly that Gilbert would mix himself. Then they would jump in the Mazda RX-7 and hit the best runs just after first light. Balboa Park. Valley College. North Hollywood. The final stop would always be the famed courts at Venice Beach. They would arrive early to get a spot, then talk about the games all the way home.

“We didn’t have much,” says Gilbert. “But I never felt poor because I had my Dad.”

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas and his son Alijah play a game of 1-on-1 basketball at their home in Woodland Hills, California. Alijah Arenas is a highly rated high school basketball player in the Class of 2026 nationally and the state of California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Gilbert Arenas is a cheat. Like all good dads who can no longer beat their sons in the driveway.

We’re in the backyard. The score: Alijah 6, Gilbert 5. Going to 11.

“Or whenever I win,” says Gilbert.

Alijah drips in three feathery jumpers.

Alijah 9, Gilbert 5.

Kid misses a reverse lay-up.

Gilbert checks ball. Pulls up from three. Cash. Counts as two.

“11 to 5!” Gilbert shouts. “Game!”

“What?!” counters Alijah. “I had nine. It’s 9-7. I was up. Is anyone seeing this!”

“Sorry, take that L. Take that L.”

“This is so unfair. He always does this.”

“Dad always wins. Them’s the rules.”


Arenas leans against the stanchion staring at his phone during timeouts at a mid-May tournament at Open Gym Premier in Anaheim, California. He is not bothered by a single passerby, mostly parents or relatives of the athletes playing in this two-day tournament.

On the floor, Alijah negotiates defenses deftly, calmly using countermoves to get by defenders to get off a 16-foot mid-range jumper that Gilbert only just added to his game recently. But the star on his Compton Magic 16U team on this day is Koa Peat, the five-star phenom who is at the top of every D-I coach’s list.

“His time will come,” says Etop Udo-Ema, the CEO and founder of national power grassroots program Compton Magic. “This kid is so special for someone his age. Actually, his time is now.”

A day later we’re back at home on the sectional in the living room.

“He’s more skilled than I was at the same age, taller of course,” says Arenas. “I was faster and more self-motivated but I’ve never met as many people who have ever been as motivated as me.”

Up until now Alijah has had the choice to do as much or as little as he wants as it relates to his basketball training and development. Arenas has but one simple rule: “I’m not waking you up.”

“I tell him if you want to work out you get yourself up,” says Arenas who routinely begins his day at 5 a.m. “He has to understand the responsibility of being a pro. Being a pro doesn’t start when you get to the NBA. It starts now. You have to be disciplined in everything you do: work ethic, cleaning your room, sleep patterns, eating, everything.”

“He’s more skilled than I was at the same age, taller of course. I was faster and more self-motivated but I’ve never met as many people who have ever been as motivated as me.”

– Gilbert Arenas on his son, Alijah Arenas

Arenas can’t recall a time Alijah ever talked back or pouted about putting in extra work. He takes pride in how coachable his son is.

“You can’t be reckless and be excellent on the court,” Arenas tells him.

“But you were kind of reckless when you were at your best,” I say to Arenas who immediately recognizes his contradiction.

Arenas pauses.

“My recklessness was….” he stops then starts. “OK, I’ll put it like this. I had never been in trouble so I didn’t think it was possible for me to get in trouble because everything was fun and games. I wasn’t drunk in the club. No DUIs. No barfights. That wasn’t my world. My problem was I brought the fun to the locker room and the arena. The locker room was my outside world.”

Arenas had quickly developed a reputation for pranks and pushing the envelope to get a laugh to entertain those around him. Stunts, paintball fights, water balloons. Hiding teammates’ belongings. Everything was an opportunity for next-level hijinks. It morphed into the perceived image that the upstart point guard couldn’t take anything seriously — a stark contradiction for a player with a work ethic so maniacal he would often sleep at the Wizards practice facility in the players’ lounge.

DeShawn Stevenson (left) and Gilbert Arenas (right) of the Washington Wizards laugh during the game against the Toronto Raptors on March 6, 2007, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Mitchell Layton/NBAE via Getty Images

Arenas would shoot alone in the wee hours, hit the weight room by himself, then get ready for practice. When teammates arrived about 9 o’clock in the morning..…

“It was play time!” exclaims Arenas. “That was the atmosphere I created.”

As long as his activities weren’t unlawful Arenas never saw a problem with it. Today, he says he doesn’t smoke, drink or hang out in strip clubs despite the incessant references to strip clubs he makes on his podcast Gil’s Arena. He says his children have never seen him pour a drink. The bottles of LeBron’s tequila Lobos 1707 are just for show.

Arenas was still prone to occasional recklessness as he transitioned into life after basketball without a clear plan. His rocky introduction to Instagram included disparaging remarks about the appearance of WNBA players which the league condemned in a statement. In 2015, Arenas drew backlash for driving his Polaris Slingshot about 20 feet with frightened 8-year-old Alijah hanging from the windshield.

He didn’t exactly win any Father of the Year votes. He defended himself on TMZ the following day saying the incident had been blown out of proportion.

But the incidents have all but disappeared as Arenas has committed himself to living by example and practicing what he preaches.

Much of the turmoil in his playing career and early retirement was generated by a clash with his ex-Laura Govan, who is the mother of his four children. With a custody agreement in place the furor has long since died down.

“We get along great now,” says Arenas. “because I never see her.”

Also, because his children are old enough to understand the difficulties of their parents.

“Kids see everything,” he says. “They hear everything. Words and actions matter.”

During his freshman season of high school, Alijah secured passes to go into the Lakers locker room after a game. Arenas told him if he did nothing else to “focus on LeBron’s locker.” Alijah returned home to report what he’d seen.

“His locker was pristine,” says Alijah. “Everything was in place, no dust and even his cologne was in alphabetical order.

“Details,” Arenas replies. “No detail is too small.”

Grant High School guard Gilbert Arenas poses in front of bleachers in the Grant High School gymnasium in 1999.

Bob Berg/Getty Images

Arizona guard Gilbert Arenas dunks an alley-oop against Chaminade in the first half of a game in the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii, on Nov. 20, 2000.

Michael Conroy/AP Photo

Gilbert Arenas Sr. would be exhausted before a UPS shift but paced back and forth in the living room trying to memorize lines for an audition. He once had a guest spot on In Living Color alongside Jim Carrey and another on Baywatch opposite David Hasselhoff.

Because of his father’s schedule, Arenas often spent an inordinate amount of time alone. Usually in his room watching 80s and 90s VHS highlight tapes produced by the NBA. He watched Michael Jordan’s Come Fly With Me until the tape popped.

Since his room was his castle, his father made sure it was fit for a prince, or at least a little boy who carried his basketball everywhere. He put up black wallpaper and divided it into thirds with blue trim to represent the Orlando Magic, Gilbert’s favorite team. On the left, Arenas clipped and pasted every known picture of Penny Hardaway. On the right was a Lil’ Penny collage. He was obsessed with the Chris Rock-voiced character. In the middle was an homage to Shaquille O’Neal.

He would sit for hours diagraming plays and making lists of things he needed to work on until he had a mountain of notebooks stacked around his room. Some fell behind the TV. By his freshman year he’d head to the outdoor courts at Grant High where he would get up 2,000 shots before the sun came up or his hands became bloodied.

Soon, he was noticed by the varsity head coach Howie Levine who asked him to try out.

“We need a starting point guard,” said Levine.

“You mean for JV?”

“For varsity.”

“I’m not good enough for varsity.”

“You’re here every morning. Yes, you are.”

Gilbert Arenas declared for the 2001 NBA draft following his sophomore season at Arizona after leading the Wildcats to the NCAA Championship Game.

He worked out for 17 teams and brought his own basketballs to workouts emblazoned with the initials “BW”. Short for Boy Wonder, a nickname he had given himself at Arizona. He was hopeful when Jordan invited himself, Arizona teammate Richard Jefferson and Joe Johnson to D.C. for a private pre-draft workout. Jordan had taken a liking to Arenas the previous summer when he was a counselor at his fantasy camp in Santa Barbara.

The day before the 2001 draft, Arenas bought a large platinum chain with three-inch high diamond studded initials “GJA.” He didn’t tell anyone it was cubic zirconia. His family watched the draft from a sports lounge in Van Nuys. Arenas watched alone in an apartment he rented for the weekend in Marina Del Ray, 15 miles away.

“I needed to go through the process by myself,” he says. “Because I had gone through the work myself.”

He expected to go 19th to Portland or 25th to Sacramento. Boston was also a possibility as the Celtics had three first-round selections. Alone in front of the television, he wore Blazers shorts and a Kings jersey which he had taken from the draft workouts.

He called Jefferson after he was selected 15th by the Nets. Jefferson told him to be patient. When the Kings selected Alabama’s Gerald Wallace with the 25th pick, Arenas lost it.

“Who the hell is Gerald Wallace?” he screamed.

In anger, Arenas snatched the chain off his neck and threw it out the window before storming out.

“I felt like I disappointed my Dad,” says Arenas. “He just retired and I wanted to make sure he had everything but I didn’t even have a guaranteed contract.”

He jumped in his car. He called his father.

“Calm down, calm down,” Senior implored.

By the time he reached the draft party across town, his agent Dan Feigen called to tell him he’d been selected with the 31st pick, the first in the second round, by the Golden State Warriors.

“What the f— do I care about Golden State?!” shouted Arenas.

He fell into a depression. Doubt started to grow.

His dad was only ever a phone call away.

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (left) and his father Gilbert Arenas Sr. (right) pose outside during Arenas’ 25th birthday party at Club Love on Jan. 5, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images

“Let’s make a pact,” said the father. “I’ll be your father in the house. When we out and about, I’ll be your be friend.

“I won’t embarrass you. But if you embarrass me, I’ll become your father.”

“Deal,” said the son.

I had a two-hour conversation with Gilbert Arenas Sr. I tell his son about it. He laughs. Then he’s quiet. And questions me about what his Pops says.

“I don’t think my Dad realized actually how much he impacted me,” says Arenas.


“By just observing him. How he kept his room and took care of the house. He was never late for work. The way he interacted with people and carried himself. He gave me so much attention. He was my model for what a father should be.”

He stops.

“Am I that model for my son?”

In a 2006 Washington Post Magazine article, Gilbert is quoted as follows:

“You always try to be your father. I’m nothing like my Dad. But I am my Dad.”

Gilbert had only been a father for a few months. I ask him to elaborate 16 years later.

“My Dad was reserved and quiet,” Arenas says. “I was a shark. He was in the background. I needed to be in the action. But I’m like him because he fought for his kid. So do I. That’s why I was always in the news. I fought for my kids.”

Most important advice Arenas had for parents: “Get to know your kids’ friends,” Arenas says. “As parents we only have so much influence. Show me your friends and you’ll see who your kids will become. After a certain age a parent’s influence is very minute.”

Most important advice Gilbert has given Alijah: “Don’t be one of the cool kids. The cool kids go to football and basketball games to see you. Sitting in the back, showing up drunk, smoking weed and vaping. You want to be the person the cool kids come to see. You don’t want to be one of the cool kids.”

Once when Izela — the oldest child and a rising senior star at Sierra Canyon High School — was 12, he told his kids she was in charge because he had to leave for a few hours. They had never been home alone. When he returned home the house had better be in order, dinner made and homework completed. No arguments. No messes. No fights. Don’t go to the pool. Stay inside.

Arenas left the house and parked two doors down. He watched a couple hours of Netflix. Then returned home to find the house in perfect order. It was a test.

Alijah Arenas poses on the basketball court at his home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Alijah Arenas was born in Oakland on March 16, 2007. Arenas was not there.

Why didn’t you name your son Gilbert?

“I don’t like that name,” he says. “It’s not a superstar’s name.”

Arenas went through books of baby names and settled on Alijah for no real reason. Arenas let Govan choose his middle name as long as it began with an A so his initials would be AAA. She chose Amani.

“My Dad didn’t drop me or lose me,” says Arenas. “He always fought for me. He did everything for me. Every day. So I’m gonna fight for my kids. That’s what he taught me.

“But I hated that name Gilbert. It’s my name. But I didn’t like it.”

His relationship with Govan was riddled with strife almost from the beginning. The court battles. The tabloids. The subpoenas. The broken glass.

“Why did you have a second child with her?” I ask. That second child would be Alijah.

“I just had this thought of not being a typical absentee father. Don’t be this single dude or deadbeat dad. I wanted to be my Dad. Just make it work and be a family man. I tried to force being a family.”

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas (left) and his son Alijah (right) watch basketball footage at their home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

The ghosts of the past do not disappear easily but make themselves readily available to haunt.

Gilbert Arenas Sr. beams when talking about his son. About the boy making his own breakfast. Dashing to school. His uncommon focus. His game winners. How his son bought him a house. How the son exceeded the father.

But his voice on this day was clearly dejected. It is full of regret.

“The gun thing just broke him,” Gilbert Sr. said. “He was heartbroken. He was destroyed. He would say, ‘Dad if I could just get back on the court. I could make everything better.’ ”

But he couldn’t.

His injured right knee saw to it. The Wizards’ poor rehab strategy worsened things. Arenas was mired in the gun saga — in 2009 following arguments over a team card game, Arenas and Javaris Crittenton brought handguns into the Wizards locker room, resulting in suspensions from the NBA, misdemeanor weapons charges and probation for both.

His reputation was in tatters. He was depressed about not being able to perform. He couldn’t hide behind the flair or his mega-watt persona. He no longer called himself Agent Zero.

He didn’t answer the phone. He rarely left the house. Some days he didn’t smile. Most days.

“I just looked at my son,” said Gilbert Sr. remorsefully, even after 14 years, “The light just went out.”

Arenas’ biggest supporter, Wizards owner Abe Pollin, died on Nov. 24, 2009. They were going to draft John Wall. The team needed to move forward. Gilbert Mania had died.

In 2010, his final year in Washington, as rookie sensation Wall soared, Arenas averaged 17.3 points on 39 percent shooting. Wall and Arenas played just 21 games together that season as Arenas reluctantly handed over the torch.

“I’m not some guy that’s going to sit here and beef with you over this spot,” Arenas told Wall. “It’s your spot. This is your team. I’m on the outs.”

He had no say in the matter. On Dec. 18, 2010, the Wizards traded him to Orlando for Rashard Lewis. Nearly a year later, the Magic waived him. He would play 17 forgettable games with the Magic, averaging just 4.2 points in 12 minutes per game.

He begrudgingly signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. In the last four games of a career that once shone brighter than a meteor’s blaze, Arenas scored just one point: A free throw with 9:13 to go in the fourth quarter of a blowout win against his former Magic.

He was subbed out one minute later.

It is April 26, 2012. Gilbert Arenas would never play in the NBA again. The Magic still owed him $43.1 million. But the fire had been extinguished.

Gilbert called his Dad and asked him what to do. They used to be just 12 feet apart.

Alijah was 5 years old. Gilbert was 3,000 miles away – the farthest apart they would ever be.

Alijah Arenas, son of Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, poses on the basketball court at their home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

In mid-June, I return to Arenas’ docked spaceship. But today it is not still. It is buzzing with a kinetic energy. He is taping his live, thrice-weekly podcast.

A side exit takes you past his home gym which includes a revolutionary massage contraption he bought for $8,000. It sits beneath a framed pair of Jordan’s UNC practice shorts.

Hang a left, then another, and you are in the nerve center. This is Arenas’ new life.

Arenas’ podcast career started in 2017 when Complex paired him with former adult film star Mia Khalifa as a gimmick. It quickly became evident that it did not work. Khalifa did not the chops or charisma to match Arenas’ outsized personality. The glut of negative blowback from her former career didn’t help.

What followed were various iterations of a podcast striving to emphasize Arenas’ personality. Each with a different name.

In 2021, he landed a deal with Fubo TV. His show No Chill with Gilbert Arenas on Fubo Sports pays him seven figures plus bonuses for bringing in subscriptions, far more than he earned during his first two NBA seasons in Golden State.

“Our chemistry was automatic from the start,” says his co-host, NBA meme king Josiah Johnson, 41, the son of former UCLA star and Lakers legend Marques Johnson.

But the jewel in his budding podcast empire is Gil’s Arena which is produced by Underdog Fantasy, a fantasy gaming app. The show launched five months ago. He tapes the show, also co-hosted by Johnson, in the elaborate basement studio he built in his home.

Behind the camera operators is a green room for guests to cool their heels and get their makeup applied. To the left of the couch is a glass enclosed, near soundproof control room which houses a dozen monitors, keyboards and various pieces of sound engineering equipment. To the right is a wall display with basketballs and sneakers through the years. It’s actually a hidden door to a 12-seat theatre room.

He plans to convert it to another space for guests, not to mention he’ll add a second control room, add a new logo to the table and reconfigure the entire backdrop. Maybe some smoke machines. Underdog has poured a whopping $200,000 into the studio with much more to come.

“This is what I do now,” Arenas says. “I was a basketball player but this is my job now. I want to be serious about it so I want to pour everything I have into it.”

Where No Chill is conversational and relies on stories from Arenas’ playing days, Gil’s Arena is louder, wilder and often takes on the life of a barbershop where no one agrees. Recent guest have included Kenyon Martin, Spencer Dinwiddie and Victor Oladipo.

The spontaneous nature of the show is where Johnson’s role as host becomes crucial. Johnson’s quick wit is the motor of the show. He conducts the interviews, steers the conversation, reads promos and keeps the show moving.

Johnson is Craig to Gilbert’s Smokey.

As is his way, Arenas has the uncanny ability to make up for past discretions. His shows only sped that up.

His infamous locker-room gun incident and WNBA Instagram fiasco dovetailed on a recent show where he discussed WNBA draft fashion. Crittenton, his adversary in the Wizards gun saga, then appeared remotely after being released from prison after eight years for manslaughter.

“People never realized how close we were back then,” said Crittenton. “And still are today.”

The saga had come full circle.

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas in his podcast studio at his home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

Arenas wanted his career to end with a Finals appearance and maybe a ring, but definitely a Hall-of-Fame speech in which he would tell an unbelievable story about how he and his Dad slept in a car behind a thrift store.

How they ate pizza, drove to the best runs. That they had nothing, then had something. That they were best friends.

Maybe they never got to say it — how those UPS nights saved their life; how a second-round pick became a phenomenon; how a son nothing like his father found out they were exactly the same.

They were both optimists. They were driven. They were both loners. Both survivors.

But the past cannot be unwritten. That past is his. Only the future can be shaped.

It is July 26, 1988. Gilbert Sr. sits in the front seat of his car. He and his son are homeless. Although his son doesn’t know it.

“It will be OK, Dad,” said the son. “Everything will be alright.”

Once, the father used to leave $5 on the counter for Gilbert’s lunch. Gilbert just bought Alijah a $100,000 car.

It is June 29, 2023. Gilbert Arenas is 41 years old.

Alijah Amani Arenas is 16. He stands atop the pool house.

Nothing is impossible to him.

Alijah will never know what his father knows.

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas and his son Alijah at their home in Woodland Hills, California.

Hana Asano for Andscape

There was plenty of work to do on this day.

It is June 18. Father’s Day. Gilbert Sr. woke up and did a few chores around the house. He relocated to Orlando several years ago. He misses his grandchildren and hates being so far away from them.

He misses the boy who would dribble on the sidewalk with his head down when they were looking for an apartment.

He told him to keep his head up. He wanted to be an actor once himself, but his dreams were secondary. The RX-7 was stolen years ago.

Gilbert will never know what his father knows.

Senior checked his messages and ran some errands. He had yard work that could not wait. He tidied up and fixed a couple things around the house. Then the upstairs AC went out, so he had a new project. He steamed some crabs for dinner, then settled in for an Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary on Netflix when the phone rang.

“What up, Pops?” said the voice on the other end of the line.

“Hello, son.”

He asked about his grandchildren. He told him about the AC. They spoke for a while when Arenas casually mentioned Izela had a game that day.

“What?” said Senior. “What time is the game? You better get off this phone and go watch your daughter play.”

Father and son were 3,000 miles away – the farthest apart they had ever been.

Arenas hung up the phone.

Don’t worry, Dad. Everything will be alright.

Chris Palmer is a long time NBA writer from Prince Georges, County, MD. His tattoos and crossover are a work in progress. He and Kevin Durant almost always agree.


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