Michael Jordan may be the GOAT in the consensus opinion of msot basketball fans, but he himself doesn’t necessarily like the label.
In a 2009 interview with Michael Wilbon, Jordan made it quite clear that he steers clear of comparisons between eras:
“I don’t want it on a sense because I think it disrespects Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West. You know, all the guys that prior to me, I never had a chance to play against.”
“What everybody’s saying I am I never had the chance to compete with other legends that were prior to me. When I hear it, I cringe a little bit because it’s a little bit embarrassing because no one knows… I would love to have played against them but I never did. For you to say, I am better than him, I mean it’s your opinion.”
How Michael Jordan differs from LeBron James in terms of promoting his own place in NBA history
LeBron James, on the other hand, did not fake any kind of humility when he was asked about the GOAT debate. He said in Draymond Green’s presence that his performance in the 2016 NBA Finals made him the GOAT.
“That one right there made me the greatest player of all-time… Everybody was just talking about how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all-time, like, it was the greatest team ever assembled. For us to come back the way we came back in that fashion, I was, like, ‘You did something special.”
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) December 30, 2018
This statement from James continues to fetch him backlash from most people. But some, like Chauncey Billups, support him coming clean with his honest opinion in public. Billups said that people at that level definitely feel they’re the GOATs, and for James to openly say it allows him to walk out with swagger.