The topic of the NBA's G.O.A.T. was revisited at the end of 2018 when LeBron James said he thought he became the greatest after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first championship in franchise history after coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Like with many G.O.A.T. conversations, Michael Jordan came to mind.
Despite being widely considered the greatest player in basketball history, Jordan rejected the label because it "disrespects" other players who were deemed the greatest of their era. In 2009, MJ sat with Michael Wilbon to explain his views on that title.
"I don't want it, in a sense, because I think it disrespects Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, all the guys that, prior to me, I never had a chance to play against," Jordan said. "What everybody is saying I am, I never had the chance to compete against other legends that was prior to me."
This was a humble statement coming from a competitor known for bragging about how great he was to his opponents. While MJ believed that everyone is entitled to their opinion, he says he would never claim to be the greatest player. "I would love to have played against them, but I never did," he adds. "For you to say that I'm better than him, I mean it's your opinion. It's their opinion. I accept that as their opinion. If you ask me, I would never say that I'm the greatest player."