LeBron James declaring himself the greatest NBA player of all time has sparked a pretty fierce public debate.

Perhaps that was all part of his plan?

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked Thursday what he thought of the Los Angeles Lakers star's recent remarks about being the GOAT and made an interesting analogy while wondering aloud why James would make those comments with more basketball ahead of him.

"His career's not over," Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "I'd just like to -- why he's saying that, I don't know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he's taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don't know."

James made the statement on his new show, "More Than An Athlete," which airs on ESPN+ and is produced in partnership with his media company, UNINTERRUPTED. So, while LeBron is getting some pretty harsh blowback for his boast, he's still drumming up awareness for his own business venture.

When asked for his own opinion on the GOAT debate, Ainge gave a diplomatic response.

"Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time," Ainge said. "But time will tell. I don't know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different."

Ainge did make one surprising admission, though: He'd rank James ahead of his former Celtics teammate, Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

 

"LeBron went to the Finals," Ainge said. "I would have to say (he's better than Bird), just because he was able to have more durability and play at a top level of his game for longer."

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