In a recent interview, NBA icon picked LeBron James over Michael Jordan as his NBA GOAT, adding that the Lakers star is going to be the best they’ve ever seen.
From Magic Johnson to Carmelo Anthony, everyone in the NBA community has offered their opinion on the never-ending LeBron James vs Michael Jordan GOAT debate. While Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles, James has won three NBA championships including eight back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2011 to 2018). While he missed out on the playoffs last season, James and the current Lakers roster reached the NBA postseason for the first time in six seasons this year.
Isiah Thomas chooses LeBron James over Michael Jordan
According to Justin Barraso of Sports Illustrated, NBA icon and Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas has chosen LeBron James over Michael Jordan in that pesky debate. « Kareem, Magic, Bird, Jordan, myself, you can look at our coaches in college and the pros and study the way we learned the game, » Thomas said, before adding that James joined the NBA right after high school. Thomas stated that James has a « genius-type basketball mind », and is the « Einstein of basketball » for him.
The two-time NBA champion added that he admires James and « his insatiable appetite to be on top and stay on top », and has never seen an NBA player dominate so many statistical categories. Thomas, who was a rival to Jordan in the 90s, stated that he has seen players dominate « certain areas », but no one who « truly does it all » except for James. « For now, Kareem is the best that’s ever done it, » Thomas added. According to Thomas, James is going to be the « best » basketball player the world has seen by the time he’s done.
Thomas also commented on the Lakers’ title run and how James has the basketball IQ needed to win. While the Nuggets do have the talent, Thomas believes James has the IQ needed to exploit all areas – which is made possible with Anthony Davis’ support. « It is going to be very, very difficult for the Nuggets to prevent him from his next trip to the Finals, » Thomas explained. Previously, LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Davis have commented on James’ superior basketball IQ.
Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan rivalry
While the James-Jordan debate has become more prominent this past decade, Thomas and Jordan’s rivalry dates back to the 1980s, when the ‘Bad Boy’ Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs for three straight years. The Pistons used physical defensive techniques to keep Jordan from scoring, which the five-time NBA MVP later described as « personal ». The rivalry extended after the Pistons’ 1991 Eastern Conference Finals defeat, where the Pistons left the court before shaking hands with the Bulls.
Thomas later defended his team, stating they didn’t think beyond the game and that’s just how things worked back then. A year later, despite being one of the best point guards in the NBA, Thomas was excluded from the 1992 Dream Team. Reports suggested at the time that Jordan refused to play if Thomas was on the team, which is why he was eventually left out. Their rivalry was somewhat renewed after The Last Dance released, where Jordan spoke about still hating the Pistons.