Michael Jordan eases off talk

Updated: October 3, 2013, 4:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Michael Jordan is easing up on the trash talk.

After saying he believes he could have beaten LeBron James in a game of one-on-one when he was in his prime and joking that Kobe Bryant steals his move, Jordan is saying he meant no disrespect.

"You know I meant no offense to any of the guys I mentioned, right?" Jordan said to ESPN.com's Michael Wilbon.

In addition to James, Jordan had said "I don't think I would lose" against Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and maybe Bryant.

"Each person I mentioned feels he would win those battles, and of course those are the guys you think of," Jordan told Wilbon. "Some of them I dreamed of playing when I got older, but they were past their primes by then."

Jordan, 50, made the initial comments in an interview for the promotion of the "NBA 2K14" video game.

James and Bryant took the ribbing in stride.

James, who has led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships, said that "it's good for people to talk about." Bryant tweeted that "I stole some of his [moves] ... this generation stole some of mine."

"I love what Kobe does, love him. And I love what LeBron does," Jordan said. "It's their stage now. It's their time. I wasn't saying that to go after any one of them. I wasn't. But it's being taken that way."

Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and five-time MVP, seemed surprised that his bravado regarding one-on-one matchups created such a stir.

"It's so much fun to talk about ... but we can't know," he said. "We can never know, across generations. You imagine it. You think about what might happen, particularly with the guys you think are the best of the best and then say, 'That was fun ... but we don't know.' I said I 'think' I wouldn't lose, and people are offended by that?"

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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