Isiah Thomas Recalls When Kareem Abdul Jabbar Claimed Michael Jordan is Not the GOAT

Published 03/26/2021, 2:34 AM EDT
Michael Jordan (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)


NBA is a league full of narratives. From discussions about who the MVP of a season is to who the most improved player is, the league is always in for discussions. But a constant discussion that happens in the league is who the real GOAT is. Players like Michael Jordan and LeBron James have been a constant in these debates.

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Jordan really transcended the game of basketball with his impeccable athleticism and scoring prowess. His prime came at the right time as his popularity sky rocketed all across the world with the increasing global popularity of the game of basketball.

His Airness‘ became the face of the league, and with the number of accolades in his 13 seasons with the Bulls, MJ became one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA.

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While Jordan and the Bulls might have dominated the 1990s with six NBA championships, in the late 80s, Chicago were absolutely hammered by the Bad Boy Pistons led by guard Isiah Thomas.

Given their rough play on the court, Thomas and the Pistons were not the most liked team in the league. The 1991 playoffs were the tipping point for Jordan and the Bulls who finally beat the Pistons.

The defending champions showed unsportsmanlike behavior and walked off without even congratulating MJ and the Bulls. From that day, Isiah Thomas and Jordan haven’t been on good terms to say the least.

Isiah Thomas shares Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s video claiming Michael Jordan is not the GOAT

The Hall of Famer guard recently created a stir among the NBA fans with his latest Twitter post. The 2-time champion shared a throwback video where Lakers’ legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar talked about why Michael Jordan isn’t the GOAT.

In the video, Jabbar said, “I react by saying those people probably didn’t see Oscar Robertson playing and they didn’t see Jerry West play. Some of the guys that played when the games weren’t televised.”

When asked about why he isn’t considered in the GOAT debate, the 6-time MVP had a rather interesting take. “Because people admire Michael’s athletic, extraordinary athletic ability, which is so obvious.”

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“And for me, they just see someone who’s tall, and they don’t think I’m working that hard at it. But, you know, I couldn’t do what Michael did. Michael couldn’t do what I did. So, you know, that’s just something people are gonna argue about.”

The 19-time All-Star added, “I always compare myself in that sense to Roberto Clemente, you know, he made easy and he did some incredible things out there that people can only think about, and I think we were cursed the same way.”

While the latest move by Isiah Thomas might seem questionable, Kareem raises some valid points in the old video. Especially given the dearth of media coverage in the 1960s and 70s, the greatness of players like Jerry West and even Kareem Abdul Jabbar is often overlooked.

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Given the massive impact these players had, they rightfully deserve to be in the GOAT conversations more often.

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Aditya Mohapatra

710 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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