The GOAT debate has been a recurrent topic around NBA circles throughout this year and that doesn't seem to be changing in the near future. LeBron James just won his 4th NBA championship and fans started discussing who is the greatest player of all time. The comparisons will always be between James and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, widely considered the GOAT around the world.
This debate has gotten pretty annoying in recent times and people are trying to just appreciate greatness from every player before it's too late, as it happened with Kobe Bryant last January. Former LeBron's teammate Chris Bosh gave his two pennies on this topic, writing a lengthy piece on his 'The Last Chip' website about the never-ending debate, explaining how players from his generation feel about Jordan and what he meant for them.
My generation grew up watching MJ. When we started playing, we tried to imitate what he—and all our idols—did. But we didn’t put in all that work—we didn’t dedicate our lives to basketball—just to get compared to the stars who inspired us to do so. And I don’t think the OGs made history just so they could become benchmarks for every new sensation. The past is supposed to blaze the trail for the future. It doesn’t always have to compete with it. I’d bet a lot of my peers would agree.
Which leads me to the other part of this conversation that doesn’t sit right with me: the way it pits Black men against one another. How often do you hear Tom Brady compared to Joe Montana? I haven’t—and certainly not to the degree that LeBron and MJ are put side to side these days. In our sport and others, white players simply aren’t defined by one other as often as we are. They’re given plenty of room to exist as individual phenomena. Come back to me when you’re lining up Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle. Or maybe don’t.
Bosh also revealed something big about LeBron: he couldn't care less about the GOAT debate.
One person who also doesn’t want to talk about GOATs? Bron himself. He’s been a team-first guy since Akron—that’s what makes him great. In almost every interview I see, he makes a point of saying that he doesn’t care about that conversation, that he couldn’t do what he does without his team, no matter where he’s playing. Kobe, too: “Let’s just enjoy each other’s greatness,” he said. I used to think people weren’t listening to those guys – the same players they were arguing over – but now I think they just don’t care.
To back up Bosh's words, right after he won his 4th 'ship, James addressed the GOAT debate, playing down all the things that he could say, leaving that job for the media to decide who they think is the greatest player of all time.