Skip Bayless hilariously claims that Gary Payton does not get to have an opinion in the LeBron James-Michael Jordan ‘GOAT’ debate.
Even with LeBron James having been sidelined due to injury for nearly a month now, the ‘GOAT’ debate rages on in an effort to definitively crown either the ‘King’ or Michael Jordan with the title of being the greatest to ever lace up to take to NBA hardwood.
With most having decided that this 2021 NBA Finals would be a great litmus test to see if LeBron James I deserving of the mantle of ‘GOAT’, many fans and seemingly NBA legends have steered away from the outright question on who the greatest is.
Instead, they have delved into who the better player was on the court. This brings into question who the better shooter was, the better passer, the better leader, and so on and so forth.
Seattle SuperSonics legend, Gary Payton, took to Scoop Robinson’s podcast to give James a slight advantage. “Jordan was a guy who was going to take big shots. I think LeBron James is an all-around better basketball player.”
Skip Bayless says Gary Payton should be excluded the LeBron James vs Michael Jordan debate
Skip Bayless, who’s an avid supporter of Michael Jordan, took to Undisputed to let Shannon Sharpe know he has nothing to be happy about when it comes to Gary Payton’s stance on the ‘GOAT’ debate.
This is because Skip believes Payton still has it out for Jordan after he “kicked his ass” in the 1996 NBA Finals. Skip compared Gary Payton’s feelings toward Michael Jordan, to what Isiah Thomas feels about him.
Everybody knows that Thomas and Jordan have a strained relationship at best. Everything from the late 80s to the early 90s Pistons-Bulls rivalry to the fact that MJ almost certainly made sure that the Detroit point guard didn’t make it onto the 1992 Dream Team.
Gary Payton and Michael Jordan’s relationship
Payton and Jordan’s so-called ‘beef’ began in the former’s rookie season. The rookie guard was talking up a storm in the preseason to B.J. Armstrong and the Bulls in 1990.
Mike took note of this and in Payton’s first game against the Bulls in the regular season, the savvy 6’6 guard got him into early foul trouble, resulting in an early benching.
MJ walked up to Payton and said, “That s—t you was talking in preseason? This is the real s—t right here. Welcome to the NBA little fella.”
Payton would go on to meet MJ in the NBA Finals 6 years down the line, where, as Skip laid out quite simply, MJ kicked his ass. The series was over in 6 games as the defensive specialist on the Sonics couldn’t quite crack the code on how to stop Jordan, despite impressive wins in Games 4 and 5.
It remains to be seen whether or not Payton is still reeling from this Finals and has let the loss cloud his judgement on any debate that involves the man that sent Shawn Kemp and his Sonic packing.