USA track and field athlete Noah Lyles has responded to the backlash he copped following his comments about how NBA players shouldn’t be called ‘World Champions’.
A couple of weeks back, Lyles went on a rather long rant about how when an NBA team wins the NBA Finals that they shouldn’t really be called ‘World Champions’ as it makes no sense.
“You know the thing that hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA finals and they have “world champion” on their head,” Lyles said. “World champion of what? The United States? Don’t get me wrong. I love the U.S., at times, but that ain’t the world. That is not the world. We are the world. We have almost every country out here fighting, thriving, putting on their flag to show that they are represented. There ain’t no flags in the NBA.”
Since then, Lyles has spoken about how NBA players like Kevin Durant roasted him for what he said but he still isn’t changing his opinion.
“I didn’t hear that this was going viral until the last day of the World Championships,” Lyles said on I AM ATHLETE Podcast. “You know, I’m celebrating, we went out to the club and my phone starting to blow up with my friends and they’re texting me saying what’s going on? You got the whole NBA on your head right now. Then I’m like, what are you talking about? So I put on my phone and see just a few basketball players like whatever and then I see KD’s talking, and then you got a few others, Drake, Drake chimed in. But at the same time it’s like wow, they actually heard something. The US is too easily giving out World Championships just because the rest of the world doesn’t play the sport that we’re playing. Not to say that we’re not the greatest at it and we have some amazing and the best ever in that sport, it’s just you can’t call yourself World Champions if you don’t face the rest of the world.”
NBA players would argue that the NBA is the best basketball league in the world and it’s a global league due to all the nationalities that compete in it, therefore they are well within their rights to be called World Champions.
But clearly, Lyles has a different view.
Some NBA players, like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George agreed with what Lyles was saying, and understood where he was coming from.
No doubt his fresh comments will stir up the debate once more.
In case you missed it, here’s some of the hilarious reactions from NBA players to Lyles’ initial comments.