One of the most exciting and often pretty hectic discussions among NBA fans is the one on who is the actual GOAT in the NBA. If you ask most NBA players, coaches and fans, the answer would be Michael Jordan, and rightfully so. However, in these types of discussions, a few other names often pop out, with some people calling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the greatest and most underrated superstar in NBA history.
In a recent interview with Marc Stein, Kareem talked about his long-time scoring record and how he hopes LeBron will surpass him before his career is over. Kareem also spoke about the GOAT discussions calling it 'metaphysical mystery.' His arguments are similar to when Michael Jordan said it's impossible to compare players that played in different eras because the competition and rules are significantly different, and those things are impossible to measure. On the other hand, Kareem offers a different way to assess someone's greatness, and it might make much more sense.
GOAT discussions are fun, like debating who's faster: Superman or the Flash. It's a metaphysical mystery. The question can never be answered because players from the past were trained under different restrictions and played under different rules. Then you have to ask what to give more weight to: Scoring, defense, assists? All of them? But the stats don't always reveal the particular conditions and challenges of each season. Way too many variables. How about we just discuss the O'GOAT (One of the Greatest of All-Time)?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, via Marc Stein
As Kareem said, too many variables make a certain player or a team an all-time great. Some fans would say LeBron, for example, had an easier route to his championships than Jordan or Kobe, but in fact, it's impossible to compare and measure those variables. Having a discussion where we can, for example, name players that were the GOAT's in their respective eras makes much more sense and maybe wouldn't create such adversity among the fans as well. No matter who the fans think the GOAT is, there should be more respect towards all players that fall into this category because if they are in these discussions, that means their greatness is already recognized.