Former NBA player and champion Isiah Thomas made a guest appearance at Heavy Live With Scoop B, where he talked about the impact athletes have on the public on top of their success in the sports they’re competing. Thomas believes athletes should use their platforms to speak about particular social and racial problems that impact their communities in the same way as older players did before them.
According to Thomas, greatness should be characterized by everything the athlete does off the court and how fans remember his legacy. For Thomas, LeBron James is one of those players who are not afraid to speak out about issues and do everything in his power to impact other people’s lives.
Muhammad Ali wasn’t the greatest because he could knock people out – Muhammad Ali was the greatest because of what he did outside of the playing field; outside of the ring. So the champion has always carried that mantle; particularly in the NBA – Bill Russell carried it, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar carried it, Dr. J carried it, I carried it, and now LeBron is doing it.Isiah Thomas, via Heavy
The term GOAT in that respect has a different meaning for Thomas, who thinks a player on top of his excellence in a particular sport uses his influence to impact the lifes of people around him. Because of that, Thomas has a lot of respect for James, who started numerous initiatives that help the ones in need.
So when you look at what the ‘GOAT’ means for us in terms of lifting us up in the society, speaking for the voiceless in our community; you can be a champion on the floor, and you can be a champion off the floor. So what he’s done statistically – the numbers don’t lie. But also what he’s done OUTSIDE of the playing field, that doesn’t lie either.Isiah Thomas, via Heavy
Thomas is fascinated by everything James did so far in his 17-year-long career, with the last championship being the last of his accomplishments. James proved once again he should be in the conversation for the best player in the league, despite being 35 years old. Thomas acknowledges that there was never a player who was able to dominate the game on so many levels for such a long time.
So you know, in terms of being a complete basketball player in terms of passing, dribbling, shooting, rebounding… no one has done what he’s done statistically in EVERY single category. Now we’ve had players to dominate one category. But we’ve never had a player that’s come in and dominate it in so many statistical categories across the board. And that’s LeBron James.Isiah Thomas, via Heavy
In some way, Thomas implied LeBron is on the GOAT level because of his dominance on the basketball hardwood, alongside his off the court endeavors. That is not far from the truth, especially when you look at how LeBron uses his impact and resources to help others who are less fortunate.