John Salley had one of the most fascinating NBA careers of any player from his generation. Although he won four championships, he never actually played a truly pivotal role on any of his teams.
Much like Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, Salley’s brand is far more notable for his time as a broadcaster than as a player. Except somehow, Salley has even less individual accomplishments as a pro player. Smith was at least a member of the All-Rookie First Team in 1988.
All that being said – Salley has had a firsthand seat to a lot of NBA greatness. And because of that, he is uniquely qualified to share his two cents on one important question.
Who is the GOAT?
Recently, Salley offered his thoughts on the matter. As far as he is concerned, the answer is neither Michael Jordan nor LeBron James.
“I tell people, I said the greatest player I’ve ever played with is Isiah Thomas, and I have played with Michael,” Salley said.
“I have played with Kobe and Shaq. He’s six foot, and he did everything everybody else was doing. And in the same amount of time that Steph Curry was playing, Isiah had better stats, but no one wants to mention it.”
Salley didn’t stop there, though.
“They hate him because he’s short… They let everything else the propaganda that the Chicago Bulls put on Isiah Thomas. That was propaganda. They let everything else get in the way of his greatness.”
That’s certainly a bold take. Thomas was always an incredible player, but is he the greatest? That’s obviously very subjective.
Everyone has their own take on the topic.
Kyrie Irving has one name. Scottie Pippen has another.
So many people have weighed in.
Julius “Dr. J.” Erving has done it. Allen Iverson has done it. Even former President Donald Trump has done it.
That’s quite the workout. https://t.co/ZmhkF3qERb
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 28, 2022
In that vein, Salley’s comments are just par for the course.
Will this debate ever get settled with one definitive winner?
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