Michael Jordan has addressed the GOAT debate several times, favoring other players and showing huge respect for them. The Chicago Bulls legend was considered a God on earth, and that should tell you how special this man was during his active days.
Nevertheless, when people asked him about the greatest player of all time, MJ always praised other legends, saying he never played against them, so it was hard to make a fair comparison.
In a 2003 interview, Jordan told John Thompson he wasn’t the best player of all time (4:20).
« False. Because I didn’t play against all the great players prior to me, and those were the players that influenced my game. It’s a great honor, don’t get me wrong, but I’d love to play against Jerry West to determine if I was a better guard than him, or Oscar Robertson, but we will never know. »
In the revealing interview, Thompson asked more interesting questions, including if he believed he could’ve made it to the MLB if he kept playing baseball.
« I believe that. Some people might not, but I believe that. For that short amount of time, I gave the dedication to the game of baseball, a true effort. (…) I was up at 6 o’clock, with bloody blisters all over my hand just trying to show that I could play this game. »
After that, Jordan stated that the 2002/03 NBA season was his last, and nothing could change that. He left the NBA as one of the greatest winners of all time, a player who gave his everything every night and never disappointed fans.
MJ always had this humble attitude when it came to the best player of all time. When you don’t call yourself the best, that boosts your case. If you’re really the top dog, you don’t have to convince people that you are.