Carmelo Anthony has watched “The Last Dance” documentary, and he’ll even tell you Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.
But when it comes to G.O.A.T. debates between the Chicago Bulls legend and LeBron James, the Trail Blazers star is not having it.
"I don't like it,” Anthony told CBS Sports. “And I say that because whenever we do that, we fail to appreciate what we have in front of us. Any time these comparisons are made, whether it's anybody -- old school versus new school -- it's like, why can't we just appreciate everybody for what they bring to the game?"
Melo has grown to appreciate both players games over the years. He developed a relationship with Jordan when he became the first signature athlete to sign with Jordan Brand in 2003. He’s also played basketball with LeBron since high school and the Lakers star once saved Anthony’s life when he was drowning in the Bahamas.
All allegiances aside, Anthony doesn’t think you have to side with one or the other.
You know, M.J. is the GOAT. He's the greatest ever. We all know that, and we all agree to that. Why can't we say that, but also give LeBron his flowers while he's here too?" Why can't we say, 'M.J. was very great, LeBron is very great, Kobe is very great.' We're not allowed to say those things today, because it's always this or that, and that's just our society -- you have to choose one.
Watching The Last Dance did enlighten Melo though. He also believes it gave viewers a glimpse into what kind of person MJ was rather than the names like M.J. the great, Basketball God and Black Jesus that followed him after his legendary years on the court.
“He was a mythical person, like a mythical creature,” Melo said. “Nobody understood who he was or what he was. I think seeing him kind of take the lid off the pot and having the chance to kind of just tell his story and people can hear his passion -- what he's into, what he's not, and how he operates on the day-to-day, his mentality. Most people loved it. Some people were very surprised. And then there were people who hated it, because a lot of times people hate the actual truth."
LeBron James’ contributions might not match up to the greatness of Jordan. We don’t know, the story of his basketball career is still being written. What we do know is that both Jordan and LeBron have transcended the sport as we know it and helped grow the game on a global scale.
Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.