The GOAT debate is one of the most discussed topics of conversation in basketball, it’s a favorite of the NBA media in particular. Most fans and analysts have picked their sides, and in the modern day, it has primarily boiled down to just two names. Michael Jordan is thought of as the GOAT by consensus, a majority would likely pick him if they were to be asked. But LeBron James has gained a strong following as well, and his supporters wholeheartedly argue his case to be considered the greatest ever.
It’s a tough debate, there are points to be made on both sides. MJ’s prime was as dominant as it can get, he led the Bulls to 6 titles in 8 seasons, and he retired for a season and a half in between those three-peats. LeBron’s case is more about his longevity at the highest level, James has been the face of the league for well over a decade now, consistently performing at the highest level.
And while both James and Jordan are deserving candidates, other players might also have a case. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes to mind, Dr. J picked him after all, with names like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Bill Russell also often coming up. And another NBA legend thinks they deserve a lot of consideration as well.
Clyde Drexler Doesn’t Like That The GOAT Conversation Is Just Michael Jordan And LeBron James
Clyde Drexler is a former NBA champion and a 10-time All-Star, one of the stars of the 80s and the 90s. He was once himself considered a rival for Michael Jordan, although MJ beat his Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals in 1992. And Drexler spoke on a podcast in 2020 about how he thinks it’s reductive to make the GOAT conversation about just Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
“I really have a problem with that. Because out of all the guys that played the game, you’re only having a conversation with these two guys as the GOAT. When you got Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players who ever lived, I think you should start with those two. You got guys like Larry Bird, Dr. J, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West all of those guys are in the conversation. I love both Michael and LeBron but let’s not take something away from the other guys who played.”
Not a lot may agree with Drexler’s point, but it is good to see that the old heads still give a lot of respect to the greats that many have forgotten about. All those players deserve to have their cases for the title of GOAT considered, but ultimately there is a reason why Michael Jordan and LeBron James are mentioned more than anyone else.