On the potential eve of LeBron James winning his fourth NBA title, Isiah Thomas — who else? — had some spice to dish out. Specifically related to the GOAT debate.
"The best and most 'complete' player I have seen in my lifetime is [LeBron James] on and off the floor," Thomas, unprompted, tweeted at 9:43 a.m. CT on a Thursday morning. "He passed the eye test and the numbers confirm what my eyes have seen in every statistical category. #Goat let it be known!"
It was only a matter of time before the Michael Jordan vs. James debate bubbled up in mainstream circles with James on the cusp of closing within two titles of Jordan's six.
And indeed, James' statistical resume is undeniable. He's already third all-time in scoring (first in playoff scoring), eighth all-time in minutes played (first in playoff minutes), eighth in total assists (second in playoff assists), owns 16 All-NBA and All-Star selections, four MVPs, three rings (with three Finals MVPs), six All-Defense nods and on and on. Plus, he's still humming, having finished second in MVP voting in his 17th NBA season. His all-around game and legendary levels of achievement put him the upper echelon of NBA greats.
(Reasonable people might counter that Jordan's resume — which includes six titles and six Finals MVPs in six trips, squashing championship hopes of damn near the entire 1992 Dream Team roster, 11 All-NBA and All-Star selections, six All-Defense nods, five MVPs and ten scoring titles is more impressive. Alas.)
But is Isiah unbiased in this discussion? Of course not! Bad blood between him and Jordan goes back decades, as documented throughout "The Last Dance" — from All-Star freeze-outs, to handshake snubs, to Dream Team exclusions and more.
At the end of the day, Jordan and James are both the greatest of their generations. That's worth appreciating.
But of all-time? There's only one answer.