On Oct. 14, Cigar Aficionado released a one-hour, uncut interview with Michael Jordan, which was conducted for the publication's 25-year anniversary.
The first issue of Cigar Aficionado was printed in 1992, which makes the interview roughly three years old. Regardless, it set the internet ablaze to the tune of 1.2 million views (and counting) in just 12 days, despite some of its contents being fairly outdated.
Among a handful of evergreen bites, though, was Jordan's take on the nature of the GOAT debate across sports. This comes in a back-and-forth with interviewer Marvin Shanken, after Shanken posits that the debate for the greatest golfer of all time between Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus has been decided in the eyes of many.
Notice any parallels there? Jordan lays out a few, with the comparison to the conversation around him and Bill Russell the most compelling. But the recent swell in the basketball GOAT debate after LeBron James secured his fourth title with the Los Angeles Lakers is what makes the sentiment especially timely.
In the same interview, roughly 20 minutes prior, Jordan deflected a question about being voted the most popular athlete in American history, saying, "It's all [based] on who's watching now. If you ask 20 years from now, I'm pretty sure LeBron might beat me."
"That's one thing my parents taught me very well," Jordan said in the build-up to that line, "don't wear your reputation, don't wear your accolades, don't wear your personality on your sleeve. Let it happen, let it be you, it is who you are, don't hide from it. But don't wear it and rub it in other people's faces."
Whether Jordan in his heart of hearts doesn't see the value in comparing his greatness to that of other basketball players, or he sees himself as the unquestioned GOAT, is almost immaterial. The framing grows his legend without him having to make his own case. As he noted, the conversation is a public relations game.
And Jordan has enough zealots in his corner that he doesn't have to campaign for himself. The summer of "The Last Dance" and a conveniently timed interview drop — three days after the Finals? After three years? — only add to their ranks.