Skip to main content

“Everyone loves this conversation, but stop it, because the things that you judge it by is never the same.” — Channing Frye hates the GOAT debate

Frye explains why Shaquille O'Neal's percieved value has depreciated over time because of the GOAT conversation.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye

Channing Frye

National basketball coverage these days is so one-dimensional that on almost every channel you stumbled upon, you'll at least catch a debate or two about who the GOAT is. On one channel, you'll see Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe yelling at each other about who's better between Michael Jeffrey Jordan or LeBron James, and then on another, you'll find Nick Wright declaring to the world that Jordan isn't even considered a top 2 player of all time.

Suffice to say that with how frequently these debates have dominated sports coverage these days, it's become exhausting to digest as a basketball fan. While it may be appealing to a particular audience, the GOAT debate has reached a point where it has overshadowed more relevant topics that also deserve our attention.

The GOAT debate theoretically will never be settled.

The main problem with the GOAT debate in basketball is that it will never be settled. After all, Jordan, James, and even say Kareem Abdul Jabbar (who many also consider the GOAT) will never see the court together, which is why the audience will never get an answer to or prove their theories.

The debate dialogue has also reached a point where it ultimately demeans the accomplishments of other players (who aren't talked about just as much), which is unfortunate, especially for people who love to appreciate the pure essence of the game. Take it from former NBA player and NBA champion Channing Frye, who believes Shaquille O'Neal's value (dubbed the most dominant player in basketball history) has depreciated over time because of the GOAT conversation.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"I just get mad when people don't include Shaq in the conversation," Frye said on The Road Trippin podcast. "It's hard to be, one, for that long in this league and to be unanimously respected. Like, there cannot be one person who is just the greatest. That's so disrespectful it, like, bothers me. Everyone loves this conversation, but stop it, because the things that you judge it by is never the same." Frye added.

Why Frye's statement speaks volumes

As someone who's watched basketball for 21 years (this writer is 25 years old so do the math), I agree with Frye's statements. Not to over-impose my opinion here, but as someone who truly enjoys the X and O's angle of the game and loves to appreciate an individual player's greatness and talent, the GOAT debate is deeply flawed and has frankly dented today's NBA coverage.

Don't get me wrong, there's no harm in determining who the best basketball player of all time is, but just like what Frye said, it has undervalued what matters most, which is appreciating individual basketball greatness for what it truly is.

Frye is also right in stating that the debate will never be settled because, after all, comparing players to one another is like comparing an apple to an orange — different backgrounds, identities, skillset, and most importantly, eras.

At the end of the day, one can enjoy an apple without hating on oranges. One can also say that they prefer orange because of what it offers. Ultimately, everyone has their preference, but that doesn't mean we have to devalue other choices — or allow comparisons to dictate how we perceive the game.

As the late Kobe Bryant once said, we can enjoy one without tearing down the other. Basketball is such a beautiful game that it's unjust to limit the dialogue around it on one particular moot topic. 

kobe-bryant-dunk-on-dwight-howard

“I didn’t think he was going to dunk!”-Dwight Howard recollected his ‘Welcome to the League’ moment featuring Kobe Bryant

Dwight Howard has high praise for Kobe Bryant, despite the fall-out in his first stint with the Lakers

Luka Doncic & Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 2022-23 GM SURVEY reveals who the GMs consider being the MVP and title favourites

Giannis Antetokounmpo voted best defender, international player, and player to build a franchise around

giannis-jrue-kris-richard-jefferson

Richard Jefferson thinks the Milwaukee Bucks have the best Big 3 in the NBA

The Milwaukee Bucks Big Three has championship pedigree says Richard Jefferson

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge

“Tree Bites Man” — when Danny Ainge almost lost a finger in the 1983 playoffs

The Boston Herald came up with one of the funniest headlines of all time.

Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach

“How many of these you consider ethical or unethical depends entirely on your organization.” — 4 moves from Red Auerbach's "57 Strategies" that players still do today

LeBron James, Chris Paul, and James Harden are just some of the greats who have picked up a thing or two from the great Red Auerbach.

Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal

How Dwight Howard wants to settle his beef with Shaquille O'Neal: "I've got some jokes for his big ugly ass!"

In the episode of All the Smoke podcast, Dwight was asked about his relationship with Big Diesel and shared how he would like to settle their beef

LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal

”I can truthfully say that I'm jealous of that feat“ — Shaquille O'Neal on LeBron James potentially passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA All-time scoring list

If he averages 27.1 points (his career average) every game and doesn't sit one out, LeBron will pass Kareem on January 25th.