Ever year around this time the topic of who is the GOAT athlete comes up in the sports world. I do not follow football enough to actually have an opinion about who the GOAT is in the NFL conversation. Same goes for the NHL since I do not follow hockey. As for baseball my opinion is, and always will be, that it is Babe Ruth because he was a two-way player who knew every facet of the game and was great at all of it!
As for basketball, it is a toss up for me between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
You might be asking why I refuse to even mention LeBron James in that conversation when he is the top all time scorer. Well, here’s why….
Since being drafted in 2003 LeBron has been in the playoffs fifteen times and made ten finals appearances. With all of those appearances he only has four titles to his name as I write this and is, clearly, close to retirement. Especially, considering his injury record. On top of that he has always made everything about himself showing a very minimal ability to be a humble team player. If he had shown even the a little more interest in being a humble team player and not making it about himself he would probably have seven championships and still be in Miami never having returned to Cleveland.
With that, it is time to compare the playoff appearances of Kobe and Micheal to help explain why the answer will always be a toss up for me when it comes to Basketball.
Starting with Kobe who played his entire career with the Lakers after being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996… the Lakers made sixteen playoff appearances and seven finals appearances. During his career the Lakers won five of those title runs.
Now, as a Bulls fan I of course left the oldest best player to ever play the game for my favorite team. Jordan made thirteen playoff appearances and winning six titles. Had Jordan not been forced to retire for a couple years in the mid-90s due to the betting scandal I believe he would have won seven or eight titles with the Bulls and retired after the last title never going to the Wizards a couple years after his second retirement. There is no way to know for sure what would have happened if Jordan had not been asked to testify in court about the $57,000 check and I realize that.
So, at the end of the day him and Kobe were humble team players on and off the court during their playing days. That is why they both will forever be considered to be tied for the GOAT in this conversation.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!