The G.O.A.T. or greatest of all time conversation will be a never-ending debate in the NBA. Whenever a new era started, at least one NBA player will rise and become considered as the G.O.A.T. Just ask Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who recently said that he realized that he’s the greatest player of all time when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship title in 2016.
Not all of the NBA fans will agree to LeBron James’ claim, especially those people who think that the basis for being the G.O.A.T. is the NBA Finals record. When it comes to that, Michael Jordan, who won all six NBA championship titles in his six NBA Finals appearances, definitely has the edge over James. However, unlike James, Jordan refused to call himself the greatest player of all time.
In a 2009 interview with Michael Wilbon of The Undefeated, which is currently posted on Twitter, Michael Jordan said that it will be a complete disrespect to other NBA greats he never had a chance to play against to call himself the G.O.A.T.
“I don’t want it in a sense because I think it disrespects Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West — you know all the guys that prior to me I never had a chance to play against,” Jordan said. “What everybody is saying I am, I never had the chance to compete against other legends that was prior to me. When I hear it, I cringe a little bit because it’s a little bit embarrassing because no one knows. I never had the chance to, once again, to play against those guys. I would love to have played against them but I never did. “
A 2009 clip of Michael Jordan refusing to declare himself the GOAT has been making the rounds after LeBron did just that last week https://t.co/QSJEKZwZN1— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 2, 2019
Michael Jordan definitely has a point. Players coming from different eras should never be compared nor ranked. The NBA continues to evolve almost every year, and active superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry will definitely agree that the physicality in the league is completely on a different level during Jordan’s era.
Jordan’s comments send a strong message not only to NBA fans but also to NBA players who think that they are better than other NBA greats. Jordan said that he respects fans’ opinions regarding who they believe is the greatest of all time, but he wants them to start appreciating greatness and respect all the players instead of spreading hatred and continuously arguing with each other. Unfortunately, even if it comes from the mouth of an NBA legend, it is unlikely to put an end to the G.O.A.T debate.