Stephen A. Smith First Take Photo Credit: ESPN Screenshot

Stephen A. Smith vs. LeBron James, playing one-on-one in basketball — who you got?

Everyone is obviously going to take James in that matchup. But Smith is adamant that if the two played, he could make at least one shot. And that’s a hill he’s willing to die on.

Smith argued his case Thursday on ESPN’s First Take, saying that he could make at least one out of 30 shots against the Los Angeles Lakers star. But everyone else in the studio seemed incredulous at his claim.

“If you’ve got to get to 100, and they’re going to give me 99, I can’t make one damn shot at all? I’ve got no shot to make one shot?” Smith said

“How you going to get the shot off?” Ryan Clark asked.

“Wait a minute, guys, I’m only saying one, damn it,” Smith said.

“This ain’t shooting at a celebrity game or something,” Damien Woody added.

“So when you check the ball, Stephen A, you’re talking about LeBron up in your grille, right, playing defense, you’re going to put the ball on the floor and actually get a shot up?” Clark said.

“I’m not trying to act like I can compete with the man,” Smith said. “I’m saying if you gave me 30 chances at one shot … One for 30. I can make one!”

“I love your irrational confidence,” host Molly Qerim joked.

Former NBA player Tim Legler became the voice of reason in the argument, offering a reasonable take.

“You would have to add one more caveat to it Stephen A., and I would go with you … when LeBron checks the ball to you, he has to throw it to you … so you have a chance to like get one off as he’s running off,” Legler said.

It was an interesting hypothetical argument, a natural successor to the recent controversy launched by Austin Rivers, “Could NBA players compete in the NFL?”

Here’s an idea: How about a challenge match between Smith and James? Find some way to monetize it, proceeds go to charity, sports books could lay odds, etc. It could be interesting to see Smith try to back up his claims.

[First Take]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.