One of the hot basketball playing thong models in the video Gilbert Arenas used to bash the WNBA says Gilbert is NOT entirely wrong ... the league needs to sex it up if it hopes to survive.
And get this ... the model is a former college basketball player who says she knows firsthand the challenges female athletes have when it comes to getting respect.
Her name is Melody Rae --who played at the U of Tennessee at Martin -- and she tells TMZ Sports, "I'm all about empowering women ...and if wearing sexy attire helps to promote the game in any way I'm all for it."
Gilbert posted a video of Melody and another model, Tamra, hoopin' around in their undies ... a video that was a behind the scenes moment for a calendar shoot for SmilePillows.com.
Arenas said all WNBA players should look like them -- and the ugly players should get the ax.
Melody says Gilbert's approach wasn't exactly ideal -- but she agrees with his message.
"Look at our video for instance. We were doing a calendar shoot and this fun video gets released and goes viral. The only reason people are paying attention to it is because of what we are wearing."
At the end of the day, Melody says she just wants more people to watch women's basketball.
"The women in the WNBA are prominent athletes that should have their arenas filled. I'm glad our video shed light on a league that deserves it and I support them whole heartedly."