One of the most debated topics around the NBA often revolves around the argument about who is the greatest player to play the game. Several names have been tossed around the discussion over the year that have respective strong cases for that incredible honor. That is something that Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas hasn’t shied away from discussing as of late. Thomas recently decided to provide clarity as to why he believes former Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds that title over the likes of Michael Jordan.
NBA GOAT conversation
It’s the conversation that creates constant debate as numerous players made their stake to the claim.
More often than not, Jordan is at the top of the list for earning this prestigious honor, given what he proved on the court throughout his 15-year NBA career. There are others such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and LeBron James that have all been mentioned over the years.
Although it’s a discussion that is often dominated by Jordan, Thomas has a different answer to who he strongly believes deserves that mantel.
Isiah Thomas believes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the GOAT
In the last few weeks, there has been plenty of discussion around the former Pistons great due to The Last Dance documentary.
Beyond his comments concerning his relationship with Jordan, Thomas recently told Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green on
Inside the Green Room with Danny Green that he has no doubt that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player of all-time. (H/T Aegir Svensson of Talk Basket)
“My GOAT is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. There is no person in the history of all sports, from grade to school to high school, to college, to the NBA that had a better basketball playing career than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And then when you take into account what he’d done in terms of social justice during that period of time, the stance he took outside off the playing field, those are big things in my mind in terms of what the GOAT was,” he said.
“When I look at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s six championships, six or seven MVPs, scored the most points than anybody in the NBA, lost one game in college, lost one game in high school and didn’t lose in grade school. To me that’s the GOAT.”
In many ways, Abdul-Jabbar hasn’t undervalued in that conversation, but Thomas isn’t one of those that do that. He has a great deal of appreciation for what the six-time NBA champion brought to the game of the basketball well beyond what he did on the court both professionally and the collegiate level.
Is Isiah Thomas taking shot at Michael Jordan?
The instant reaction to this is that Thomas is in someway shortchanging Jordan in the conversation.
These comments from the Hall of Fame point guard come not long after he stated that the former Bulls star guard was the forth-best player in league history. It’s hard to separate the rocky relationship that Thomas and Jordan shared, but the Hall of Famer stance takes into regard what Abdul-Jabbar has done throughout his basketball career.
He was an unstoppable force at UCLA, where he won three NCAA titles along with three National College Player of the Year awards. That success only followed him in the NBA as he had six NBA titles, six regular-season MVP awards, a record 19 All-Star Game selections, the all-time NBA leading scorer, and 10 All-NBA First Team nominations, among other honors.
Thomas isn’t putting down Jordan’s incredible career by any means, but more so giving Abdul-Jabbar his due diligence in the conversation that is often overlooked.