Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has better things to do than chat while he waits for pizza.
The NBA legend weighed in on the ongoing debate over basketball’s greatest player of all time, telling The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears in an article published Tuesday the argument is impossible to resolve in any objective way. As the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, Jabbar rivals the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James for the title, but the former Los Angeles Lakers center believes the question is little more than a mental exercise.
“These GOAT discussions are fun distractions while sitting around waiting for the pizza to be served,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “But they’re on a par with ‘Which superpower would you want most: flight or invisibility?’
“The reason there is no such thing as the GOAT is because every player plays under unique circumstances. We played different positions, under different rules, with different teammates, with different coaches. Every player has to adapt to their circumstances and find a way to excel. This isn’t ‘Highlander.’ There can be more than one.”
While Abdul-Jabbar declined to identify James’ definitive place in NBA lore, he believes the 34-year-old superstar will help the Lakers challenge for the NBA championship.
“LeBron is one of the most dynamic and charismatic players in the history of the NBA,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He isn’t just a great player, he’s a great showman. It’s no secret that the Lakers have been struggling these past few years to find their rhythm and maturity in order to be serious contenders. LeBron could be the right man to bring the team together.”
Abdul-Jabbar, 71, could have taken sides in the NBA GOAT debate but didn’t. He could have allowed enthusiasm over James’ free-agent move to the Lakers to cloud his judgement but didn’t. Perhaps the rest of us can learn something from the measured manner in which Abdul-Jabbar thinks and speaks.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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