For years, people have engaged in the GOAT debate. For some, Bill Russell should be the undisputed GOAT because of his 11 Championships. Others believe that no one will ever be better than Michael Jordan, while others claim that LeBron James is the best in the history of the game.
That’s why it’s not unusual to see former greats of the game also chime-in in this debate. Nonetheless, more often than not, they leave their own names out of the conversation and just discuss the greatness of their colleagues.
And, according to Isiah Thomas, that’s what made their era humbler and more respectful. He recently said on ESPN that players from his day weren’t concerned about GOAT self-proclamations and rather let other people do the talking:
“Well, we come from an era where there was humbleness and respect,” Thomas said. This is the era where they say, I am the best. I’ll even bring Jordan up in this. We have never heard Michael Jordan say, he was the greatest who ever played. And this is a generation that says no, I am the greatest to do it. And they put their stamp on it, claim it. We came from an era where we didn’t claim it. We let others claim it and fight about it.”
This could be a slight shot at LeBron James, who has often mentioned his own name in the GOAT conversation, while Michael Jordan has repeatedly stated that it’s not fair to name just one GOAT because he didn’t get to play against all the greats in basketball history.
That’s perhaps the first and only time we’ll ever get to see Isiah Thomas praising Michael Jordan due to their lifelong feud, so appreciate it.