As a 17-year-old kid, Gilbert Arenas got invited to Michael Jordan‘s basketball camp, and MJ picked him for his team. The lineup was Brian Scalabrine, Sean Lampley, and few other players who Arenas jokingly in retrospect called a “bunch of no ones.” Gilbert believes MJ’s idea was he would get to take all the shots. “I don’t think MJ looked at my high school resume,” jokingly said Arenas.
As the 6th man on the team, Arenas was the first one to get in from the bench, and in his first eight possessions, Arenas took a shoot. He made all of them! You will be shocked to find out Gilbert started waiving Michael Jordan off and made a show out of it. As the camp’s fun counselor, he convinced the kids to start yelling, “MJ sucks! Gilbert is better!” for the rest of the week.
After the camp, Arenas went back to Arizona expected to have a redshirt year as a freshman. He later found out MJ himself called coach Olson and told him he has a diamond in the rough, and he should get minutes right away. That’s right, Michael Jordan, who used his entire Hall of Fame speech to trash other people, was kind to Arenas after all that. Why?
“Because of my work ethic, I think MJ took a hold of me from my high school days.”Gilbert Arenas, FUBO Sports
That wasn’t the only gracious thing Jordan did for Arenas. Years later, Gilbert’s son Elijah was participating in MJ’s camp. Elijah got to shoot for the entire camp – if he made the shots, kids would get autographs. When MJ noticed all the Wizards gear he had, he asked Elijah where did he get it. Elijah said his dad got it, and MJ figured out he was talking to Elijah Arenas.
“‘Gilbert’s your dad? What else did he give you?’ So my son goes to his bag and brings all his MJ stuff, and he just signed all for him.”Gilbert Arenas, FUBO Sports
It seems there truly was a method to Michael Jordan’s madness. He is tough and unforgiving. But if you care about the game and work hard, you can get kids to chant “MJ sucks!” and not pass him the ball the entire week, and he’ll still have respect for you.