The NBA’s GOAT debate is always simmering just below the surface, waiting for that added heat to boil over. LeBron James gave it just that last week when a clip from his “More Than An Athlete” series with ESPN+ and UNINTERRUPTED hit the interwebs showing him explaining why, to him, winning the 2016 NBA title made him the best player of all time.
That, naturally, sparked plenty of conversation, including people insisting LeBron should be more humble like Michael Jordan about the GOAT debate, which of all the arguments to make for MJ, him being humble probably isn’t the best one. Anyways, the discussion about LeBron and Jordan will never change unless James rips off a few more championships, because for now the argument is over stats or titles, with neither side really being willing to budge.
This video, however, brings up the question of whether LeBron, already, should feel this way. While it amazes me that we continue to be confused and upset by professional athletes being wildly self-confident — sometimes bordering on overconfidence — it still happens and even happens to former players themselves. Many have voiced their disagreement with LeBron, which is fine, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge made a comparison recently that likely won’t sit well with the King.
Ainge was asked about the comments by Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston during a radio appearance and compared LeBron’s braggadocio about the GOAT debate to the current president, via NBC Sports Boston.
“His career’s not over,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “I’d just like to — why he’s saying that, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he’s taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don’t know. …
“Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time,” Ainge said. “But time will tell. I don’t know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different.”
It’s definitely not a comparison James will like, given his comments and feelings about Trump, and this probably won’t do great things for his feelings towards the Celtics. Ainge does put LeBron ahead of his former teammate Larry Bird and notes James belongs in the conversation, but like many others seems a bit off put by his willingness to call himself the greatest in a public forum.
Humility is rarely a natural gift for great athletes, but it’s one that’s for whatever reason expected. Self-confidence is a requirement to get to be a pro athlete, much less a great one, but pearls are always clutched when someone dares to speak honestly about their belief in themselves. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with that and maybe objectively you may be right to do so, but LeBron has every right to think he’s the best to ever play and we really shouldn’t be stunned he thinks that.