‘The reason there is no such thing as the GOAT is because every player plays under unique circumstances’
By Marc J. Spears
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired from the NBA almost 30 years ago and has often been regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time.
Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a six-time NBA champion as a player. The inventor of the skyhook also is a six-time NBA MVP, a 19-time All-Star, an 11-time All-Defensive team selection and a 15-time All-NBA selection.
In the 1990s, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan played his way into the GOAT (greatest of all time) conversation. And in recent years, three-time NBA champion LeBron James entered the discussion, with Abdul-Jabbar often forgotten.
Abdul-Jabbar has some thoughts on the GOAT debate.
“These GOAT discussions are fun distractions while sitting around waiting for the pizza to be served,” Abdul-Jabbar told The Undefeated. “But they’re on a par with ‘Which superpower would you want most: flight or invisibility?’ Whether I’m included or not in anyone’s list doesn’t matter. I played my hardest and I helped my teammates. That’s the most important thing I walked away with.
“The reason there is no such thing as the GOAT is because every player plays under unique circumstances. We played different positions, under different rules, with different teammates, with different coaches. Every player has to adapt to their circumstances and find a way to excel. This isn’t Highlander. There can be more than one.”
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It is a classic Kareem interview with a few nuggets in it.