Gilbert Arenas thinks he'd take care of business in a one-on-one matchup with Michael Jordan, but the 31-year-old guard managed to make the claim without sounding blasphemous.
A quick breakdown of Arenas' 90-second TMZ interview reveals that the former Washington Wizards guard has loads of respect for M.J. and carefully considered his answer before proclaiming his current basketball superiority.
When presented with news that Jordan recently threw down a one-handed jam at the age of 50, Arenas was impressed. He was also pretty self-deprecating when asked how long it would be until his balky knees would put an end to his own above-the-rim forays.
Chuckling to himself, Arenas said his dunking days would be over by the time he turned 33.
When pressed on the results of a hypothetical game to five between himself and Jordan, Arenas shrewdly asked who would have the ball first. Smart, right?
Arenas knows that if Jordan had the rock to start the contest, it's possible that he'd be the victim of five straight post-ups and a quick defeat. Jordan has put on some weight in his retirement, and combined with the nastiest set of turnaround jumpers in the history of NBA guards, Arenas wouldn't be able to keep Jordan from working him over on the block.
But remember, Arenas was a wicked scorer in his own right before injuries shortened his NBA career. He must have remembered that fact when he confidently said he'd win the matchup against Jordan by a final score of 5-2.
Still deferential, though, Arenas qualified his prediction by saying: "A younger Jordan? That'd probably be 20-0, him."
A few things need to be mentioned in closing.
First, Arenas comes off like a really thoughtful, genuinely nice guy in the interview. Not every NBA star who gets a camera shoved in his face while grocery shopping would have been so cordial. Good for him.
Second, Arenas never said he'd "dominate" Jordan. This might shock you, but TMZ juiced up its headline to make the interview sound much more confrontational than it actually was.
And third, Jordan is probably livid right now. There are no half-challenges to MJ; he's personally offended that anyone on the planet—let alone a 31-year-old NBA veteran—thinks they could handle him in a one-on-one game.
Remember his Hall of Fame induction speech? This guy sees personal affronts in everything.
I smell a charity game that turns into a bloodbath. Don't you?