Did he really think it was going to be that easy? You can’t just proclaim yourself as the greatest player of all-time without some controversy going along with it. For LeBron James, no matter how compelling his case is, he’s finding out just how much people disliked his comments.
Speaking of the 2016 Finals run, in which he lead the Cavaliers from down 3-1 and scored over 100 points in the last three elimination games combined to bring the city its first Championship in over 50 years, he said the accomplishment made him the G.O.A.T.
“That one right there made me the greatest player of all time … that’s what I felt,” James said. “I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought. … The first wave of emotion was when everyone saw me crying, like, that was all for 52 years of everything in sports that’s gone on in Cleveland. And then after I stopped, I was like — that one right there made you the greatest player of all time.”
Following these comments, a wave of backlash hit the internet. Aside from the regular fan criticism, a number of former NBA legends spoke out, and they were not pleased with the way LeBron handled himself.
Chris Webber, in a lighter tone, reminded James that he didn’t have to answer to anybody, while also reminding the 14x All-Star that players of his status usually don’t say those types of things publicly.
“I’ve never heard one of the greatest’s say they were the greatest of all-time,” Webber said. “[James must realize] part of your greatness is not answering haters. You don’t have to respond to anybody. You’re one of the best. Stay humble.”
Kevin McHale took some time to speak out, mentioning that he didn’t how James’ comments are disrespectful to the greats that came before him.
“You don’t need to say that about yourself. Let other people say that for you,” McHale said. “It’s disrespectful to the great, great, great players that came before you. I didn’t like how [his comments] sounded.”
Isiah Thomas was another to make his disdain known and talked about how he never heard Michael Jordan call himself the G.O.A.T.
But the buck doesn’t stop with former players. Fox Sport’s Chris Broussard had some interesting things to say on the matter, all tying into what was previously said by Thomas, McHale, and Webber. It seems there’s a pattern within the community. It’s okay to think you’re the best, but to say it out loud in a public format? There’s just something off about the whole thing.
In due time, when LeBron wraps up his career, we’ll be better equipped to finally answer the age-old debate. At the very least, LeBron deserves a mention in the conversation.
But he should be careful in how he talks about it going forward. Maybe these types of talks should be left for the fans.