Few debates are as hotly-contested as the ongoing NBA GOAT discussion. A number of players can lay legitimate claim to the title, and more often than not people’s choices end up being the byproduct of personal preferences and generational rifts.
This past week, Michael Cooper chatted with Ryan Ward of Lakers Daily regarding who he sees as the GOAT.
“That is such a loose term for great players: the G.O.A.T. Because you have to realize that everybody played in their own decade and era. If we could go back and had this ability to make everybody 23 or 24 at the same time, then we could say that,” Cooper said.
“What’s happening in the NBA now? LeBron is probably the greatest player to ever play the game. Put him back in the ’80s with Magic, Michael Jordan, George Gervin, Kareem — he would probably be in the mix with all of them, so the G.O.A.T. for right now is definitely LeBron.
“But try to put all those guys in a lump and pull out one. You are going to get a different answer from 10 different people,” he continued.
Bronny pulls up from beyond the arc. https://t.co/cusTr4DlQP
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 25, 2020
“And it’s hard to ask me. To me, Larry Bird would be considered a G.O.A.T. That guy there was probably the hardest guy I’ve ever had to guard, and I played in an era where it was a tough matchup every night. Dominique one night. Dr. J one night. The forgotten Andrew Toney. This guy could flat out score.
“Alvin Robertson, Marques Johnson, Alex English, Kiki VanDeWeghe. There have been so many great players that I had to guard, so the G.O.A.T., that’s hard for me to give you a definitive answer, but if you want me to give you an answer, the greatest all-time basketball player if you put them all in a bowl, I’m picking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“The reason for that is because people forget about the fact they outlawed the dunk because of this guy when he was in college. He developed the most unstoppable shot in the game of basketball. When we played the twin towers of Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson, those two guys couldn’t stop him, and he was on the other side of 30 by then.”
Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most legendary players of all time, so Cooper’s answer makes a lot of sense.
Does that mean everyone will agree with it, though? Definitely not.