Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas has made a bold claim on the GOAT debate, tipping LeBron James to take that throne after he retires from the game. Thomas recently made the case for James, who is chasing his fourth NBA ring this season, as the next greatest player of all time once he decides to call it a day and leave the game of basketball for good.
Talking with Sports Illustrated, Thomas stated that James is going to be the GOAT once he retires. Thomas stated, though, that the King wouldn't surpass Michael Jordan but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. MJ is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time but Thomas has different beliefs.
“Look at every legend’s coaching tree and you can see how, philosophically, their greatness is formed,” said Thomas. “Kareem, Magic, Bird, Jordan, myself, you can look at our coaches in college and the pros and study the way we learned the game. LeBron James came out of high school. Who was his teacher? LeBron is a genius-type basketball mind, and that’s why I refer to him as the Einstein of basketball.”
"I admire his insatiable appetite to be on top and stay on top,” said Thomas. “I’ve never seen a player dominate so many statistical categories. We’ve had players dominate certain areas, but we’ve never seen a player that truly does it all. And he’s done it, without fail, for 17 years. For now, Kareem is the best that’s ever done it. But by the time he’s done, LeBron James will be the best we have ever seen play the game of basketball.”
Thomas is well known for being one of the biggest rivals Michael Jordan had during his successful career. The former point guard led the infamous 'Bad Boys' Detroit Pistons that made MJ's life hard until 1991, when he finally got past them and took his Bulls to their first NBA Finals, beating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
Plenty of years have gone by and the bad blood is still there between Thomas and His Airness. Proof of that is that you won't see Isiah admitting Michael Jordan is the best to ever do it now, even though he said it a couple of years ago.