Former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas Cherishes His Growing Up Days as a Kobe Bryant Fan

Published 09/07/2021, 12:30 PM EDT


Most NBA players cherish the first time they encountered one of the greatest of all time Kobe Bryant. Former All-Star Gilbert Arenas is also one of those to cherish all these years. While they both played as competitors in the league, Arenas always looks up to Kobe with immense respect.

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Kobe was been an inspiration for his colleagues and so many budding basketball players. Born in Florida and raised in LA, young Gilbert Arenas grew up amongst fans of Black Mamba and became one himself.

Arenas, who has played for the Warriors, Wizards, Magic, and Grizzlies, recalls the time when he first saw Kobe in reality. “I grew up on Kobe,” he told in an interview. “Everything is Kobe. I’m compared to Kobe in high school. So, when I first see him in real life I’m like, ‘That’s him!”

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When Gilbert Arenas outscored Kobe Bryant in a thriller victory

One of the highlights was when Gilbert Arenas locked horns with the 5-time NBA champion. To everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t Bryant’s game on December 17, 2006. Rather, Arenas topped the scoring charts with a 60-point game in an overtime victory. It was back when Arenas played for the Washington Wizards and they went against Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers.

In the same match, Kobe Bryant dropped 45 points, however, he was the second-best on the court that night. That hasn’t happened a lot of times before and that was the memorable matchup for Arenas against his childhood’s favorite player.

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Laker Kobe Bryant, right, watches the scoreboard with Gary Payton against the Sacramento Kings at the Arco Arena Sunday in Sacramento. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Arenas and his days in the league

Arenas is a 3-time NBA All-Star, 2003 Most Improved Player of the Year, and was known for his shot-making ability in clutch time. Playing for the University of Arizona during his high school days, Arenas got drafted in 2001 by the Golden State Warriors. He led his Arizona team to a national championship game but eventually lost to Blue Devils.

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He had his time against the phenomenal Kobe-Shaq duo. Growing up as a Kobe fan, without a doubt, it would have been his favorite time in the league.

WATCH THIS STORY: 5 Kobe Bryant Quotes That Can Send a Chill Down Your Spine

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Pavni Ahuja

496 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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