For several years in the mid-2000s, Gilbert Arenas was one of the most dominant scorers in the NBA. On top of that, he did it from the PG position, at just 6 feet 3 inches. Think of Steph Curry before Steph Curry. He was also one of the biggest personalities of his generation, and Gilbert Arenas’ shoes reflected his personality: flashy and unpredictable. He only got two proper signature shoes with adidas but still left an indelible mark on the sneaker verse.
Arenas was always considered one of the hardest workers in the NBA and one of the biggest underdogs. Arenas famously chose his jersey number (0) because his critics predicted he would play 0 minutes in the NBA. His doubters were a constant source of motivation for Arenas, who was well known for waking up at 4 in the morning, driving to the arena, and putting up shots.
He was also famous for wearing running shoes or Dolce and Gabbana sneakers during NBA games, always wearing shoes a size and a half smaller than his own, or always eating Boston Market before every game.
This illustrates the type of player Gil was, a mix between an ultra-competitive superstar and a wacky sideshow that sometimes got in the way of his own success.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves; let’s jump in and go over all the Gilbert Arenas shoes he laced up during his legendary career.
Gilbert Arenas Shoes: A Full timeline
- Gilbert Arenas Shoes at the University of Arizona
- Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Golden State Warriors
- Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Washington Wizards
- Washington Wizards Year One
- Washington Wizards Year Two
- Washington Wizards Year Three
- Washington Wizards Year Four
- Washington Wizards Year Five, Six, and Seven
- Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies
Gilbert Arenas Shoes at the University of Arizona
Gilbert Arenas played his college ball at the University of Arizona. He had been a decent player in high school but wasn’t highly recruited. The University of Arizona was the top university to recruit Gilbert and already had a stacked roster that included Luke Walton, Loren Woods, and Richard Jefferson.
Most people, including Gilbert’s father, were against him playing at Arizona. They tried to persuade Arenas to pick another school where he would likely get more playing time. “You saw the papers, and they said: he’s going to play zero minutes,” said Arenas while remembering the process of choosing which college to attend “well, if I’m going to play zero minutes, I’m just going to go to Arizona and just fight for it. No one believes in me anyway”.
This was also the origin story of his jersey number. “The reason I wear 0 is that it reminds me of what people thought of me” “every time I put on that jersey, it lets me know that I have to go out there and fight every day.” It was this underdog mentality that made Arenas such a compelling superstar. As eccentric as he could be, no one could deny that he was one of the hardest-working players in the League.
Arenas played two seasons for the Wildcats and averaged 15.8 ppg, 3.8 RPG, and 2.2 apg and was able to stand out among the start-studded Arizona roster. He would declare for the 2001 NBA draft, and, of course, doubts began to arise regarding Arenas’ viability as an NBA prospect.
During his time at Arizona, Arenas already displayed an affinity for wearing weird shoes on the court. Arenas didn’t seem preoccupied with a shoe’s performance features necessarily, preferring shoes he enjoyed playing in. That seems to be the common feature in all Gilbert Arenas shoes. Some of the shoes we saw Arenas play in were the Nike Air Trainers SC, the Nike Air Flight 89, the Nike Air Garnett 3, and the Nike Air Flight Determination. The Nike Air Garnett 3 is a recurring pair of Gilbert Arenas Shoes.
Nike Air Trainers SC, Nike Air Flight 89, Nike Air Garnett 3, and Nike Air Flight Determination
Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Golden State Warriors
When Arenas entered the 2001 NBA draft, he was considered a player with potential, far from a “sure thing.” While going through the workout process before the NBA draft, Arenas didn’t help his stock go up at all. He was reportedly confrontational and lazy during interviews and workouts.
Gil fell to the Draft’s second round as the 31st pick. The Golden State Warriors decided to take a chance on Arenas, who entered the NBA again as a clear underdog.
Golden State Warriors First Year
Arenas would play two seasons for the Warriors. He fought tooth and nail in his first season to get a permanent place on the roster. He barely played during the first 25 games. He would finally get a chance to play actual minutes during a game vs. the Atlanta Hawks, and he would never look back. He finished the year averaging 10.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, and 2.8 rpg and would start 30 games.
During his first season, Agent Zero wore Reebok, a big brand in the NBA at that time. During the early 2000’s Reebok’s Above The Rim Series was very popular among NBA players.
Gilbert Arenas Shoes with Reebok
Golden State Warriors Second Year
During his second season, Gilbert established himself as one of the key players on the Warriors roster. Arenas boosted his numbers to 18.3 ppg, 4.7 RPG, and 6.3 apg and took home the Rookies Sophomore Game MVP and the Most Improved Player award.
During his second season, he stuck with Reebok. This time Gilbert continued playing in Above The Rim models and played a couple of games in Reebok Pumps.
Reebok Above the Rim and Reebok Pumps
At the end of the 2002-03 season, Gilbert was a hot commodity in the NBA. Arenas was at the end of his contract with the Golden State Warriors, and teams were lining up to sign the explosive guard.
Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers both courted Arenas heavily during that off-season. The Wizards would ultimately win the bidding war signing Arenas to a $60 million contract. His signing led the NBA to create the “Arenas rule,” which gives teams that draft a player an opportunity to match a contract offer for any second-round pick coming out of his rookie contract. If the League has to create a rule because of you, it’s always worth mentioning.
Washington Wizards Year One
That first year in Washington, Gilbert established himself as one of the premier guards in the Eastern Conference. He upped his numbers to 19.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 5.0 apg and seemed on his way to stardom.
During that first season, Arenas wore a weird little collection of shoes. He wore running shoes in league games to start the season. He played in a couple of different adidas running shoes and the Nike Air Max Plus. He also wore the Reebok ATR Slamaze Low(a Kenyon Martin shoe) and then switched to adidas. From adidas, he wore the adidas a3 Dunkfest and the adidas a3 Superstar Ultra.
Nike Air Max Plus
adidas a3 Superstar Ultra
The a3 series was adidas’ response to Nike Shox. a3 featured polyurethane columns, just like Nike Shox, but were supposedly engineered as an energy management system with a comprehensive midsole cushioning and control system. A3 was supposed to, from initial impact through your toe-off, address every phase of the foot strike through specific materials, geometry, and levels of firmness. As with Nike Shox, a3 didn’t live up to its claims, was stiff, and increased the weight of the shoes considerably.
Washington Wizards Year Two
Arenas became one of the premier guards in the NBA during his second year with the Wizards. As a team, the Wizards went from 25 wins in 2003 to 45 in 2004. The Wizards’ success was thanks primarily to increased productivity from Arenas. Gilbert boosted his stats to 25.5 ppg, 4.7 RPG, and 5.1 apg while hitting 2.5 three-pointers per contest. He was named to that year’s All-Star team, to the All-NBA third team, and established himself as one of the most lethal scorers in the League.
The Wizards would also make the Playoffs that year as the team with the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference. They beat the Chicago Bulls in the first round but would lose to the Miami Heat in the conference semi-finals.
As far as sneakers go, Arenas was officially an adidas man. Arenas signed a 40 million dollar, eight-year deal with the three stripes. Gilbert stuck to one model, the adidas Game Day Lightning for the whole season. He would get several PE’s of the shoe and was one of the faces of adidas’ marketing campaign for the shoe alongside Chauncey Billups and Sebastian Telfair. It wasn’t, but it did feel like the first pair of Gilbert Arenas shoes, especially the low-top version.
adidas Game Day Lightning
Gilbert rocked low top versions of the shoe, which featured adiprene cushioning, a sticky rubber outsole, and a substantial heel counter for stability. The different colorways featured different materials along the upper, but the more common team colorways came with synthetic leather. In particular, Gilbert’s orange patent leather colorway worn during the NBA skills challenge and when the Wizards played in their retro uniforms was super fresh.
Washington Wizards Year Three
The 2005-06 season would be Arenas’ best in the NBA. At this point, the Wizards were a serious threat in the East, and Arenas was one of the most, if not THE most, dangerous scorers in the League. He would finish the season averaging 29.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 6.1 apg. He was selected to the All-Star team and the All-NBA third team and was in the MVP conversation for the season.
The Wizards would make the playoffs again that season and would meet LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavalier in the first round. It seemed the Wizards might have a chance to take down the Cavs, but LeBron infamously got into Gilbert’s head while shooting a pair of crucial free throws during the decisive game 6.
Arenas had an exciting year sneaker-wise. He primarily wore low top adidas Pro Models that season but there were a few weird sneaker moments. During that preseason and the first couple of league games, he played in what seemed to be a prototype of what would be his first signature shoe, the adidas Gil Zero. He would also wear the adidas Crazy 8 in several colorways, the adidas Piranha 2, that year’s adidas a3 model, and the adidas Kobe 1. He also wore low-top adidas Superstars during the 3-point contest and special edition adidas Basket Profi during the All-Star game. That summer Gilbert also participated in USA Basketball training camp and played in the adidas Gil Zero before the official release of the shoe.
adidas Crazy 1
adidas Crazy 8
adidas Pro Model, adidas Piranha 2, adidas Superstar, and adidas Basket Profi
Washington Wizards Year Four
In his fourth year in Washington, Gilbert kept up his dominant play. He finished with averages of 28.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 6.0 apg. He was again selected to the All-Star team and the All-NBA 2nd team. He would finish 8th in the MVP race. The Wizards finished with 41 wins and were booted from the playoffs again in the first round.
This would also be the year that Gilbert would get his first official signature Gilbert Arenas shoes with adidas, the adidas Gil Zero. The shoe dropped in late November of 2006. Until then, he continued to play in the adidas Piranha and then switched over for the rest of the season. There were a bunch of different OG colorways of the shoe, including two all-star colorways, an “Undercrown” colorway, and several Wizards-based colorways.
adidas Gil Zero
The adidas Gil Zero featured adidas’ FORMOTION energy return system. The system resembled Nike’s Shox technology and aimed to provide excellent lateral stability. Each pillar was individually engineered to provide different levels of support to adapt to Gilbert’s playing style perfectly. You can find FORMOTION tech on some Tracy McGrady models as well. The shoe also featured a multi-directional traction pattern and adiprene cushion.
But the 2006-07 season was also the beginning of the end of Gilbert’s career. Towards the end of the season, Gerald Wallace inadvertently landed on his knee during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. He would be diagnosed with a torn MCL. He missed the rest of the season, and over the next three years, he played only 15 games.
Washington Wizards Year Five, Six, and Seven
In 2007-08 he played just 13 games but got a signature pair of Gilbert Arenas shoes, the adidas TS Gil II. He wore the adidas Gil Zero and that season’s signature shoe over those 13 games. The shoe featured a forefoot strap, adiprene cushioning, sectioned herringbone traction, and an adidas ClimaCool system for ventilation.
adidas TS Gil II
In 2008-2009, Gilbert was only able to play two games. He played in the adidas TS creator low. The TS Creator wasn’t precisely any player’s signature shoe (TS stood for Team Signature), but the different adidas signature athletes got the same model in other hyper-personalized PEs. Arenas’ version came in a low-top in Wizards colors. The shoes featured adidas FORMOTION tech in the heel, wavebone traction, a blend of synthetic leather and mesh along the upper, and adiprene cushioning. It is understandably one of the most underrated Gilbert Arenas shoes.
adidas TS Creator Low
Arenas was finally able to play with some consistency in 2009-10. He wasn’t exactly the dominant scorer he had been, but he was still able to average 22.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 7.2 apg. When things were starting to look up for Arenas, his career took a massive turn for the worse in December.
After an argument with teammate Javaris Crittenton, both players showed up in the team locker room with guns and threatened each other. The NBA decided to suspend Arenas indefinitely because of the incident. Adidas decided to drop Arenas as a signature athlete as well. It seemed clear that Arenas would never be able to get back to superstar status.
That season, Arenas played in several adidas models. Again, he didn’t receive a proper pair of Gilbert Arenas shoes, but he did get a couple of hyper-personalized PE’s. The shoes he wore the most were the adidas TS Supernatural Creator, but he also wore the adidas Lightning Creator Low and the adidas TS Cut Creator. All three models featured adiprene cushioning and formation tech.
adidas TS Supernatural Creator
adidas Lightning Creator Low
adidas TS Cut Creator
Later, Arenas would end up getting traded to the Orlando Magic
Gilbert Arenas Shoes: Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies
Arenas would only play two more seasons in the NBA and a total of 87 games. He played 21 games with the Wizards in 2010 before being traded to the Orlando Magic. During that time, he famously played in a myriad of different models. As a sneaker-free agent, he could wear any sneakers he wanted, and he did. He was PJ Tucker before PJ Tucker.
Over those two years, Arenas wore the following models, including several different colorways of most of them: Jordan 2, Jordan 4, Jordan 5, Jordan 6, Jordan 9, Jordan 10, Jordan 11, Jordan 11 Low IE, Jordan 12, Jordan 13, Jordan 14, Jordan 6 Rings, Foamposite 1, Penny 1, Penny 2, Nike Air Max CB 34, Nike Air Max 2 CB 94, Nike Hyperdunk 2011, Nike Huarache, Nike Trainer SC, Nike Air Zoom Flight 95, Nike Air Garnett 3, Nike Air Flight 89, Nike Air More Uptempo, Nike Air Go LWP, adidas TMac 6, Fila Grant Hill, several Nike Trainers, and the Reebok Question Mid.
Gilbert Arenas Shoes: China
Gilbert would play one more pro season in China, but that didn’t stop him from breaking out some cool kicks.
Gilbert could never make it back to the league, but he left a lasting impression. As a player, he was one of the most lethal scorers of his generation and paved the way for larger scoring guards like James Harden or Damian Lillard.
As a sneaker icon, not many players have been able to go from signature athlete to free agent legend. Hats off to you, Agent Zero.
That pretty much does it for the entire timeline of Gilbert Arenas shoes. Let us know what you think. Did we leave anything out? Is there another shoe that you’d put on the list? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below, on Twitter, Instagram, or in our Discord community.