There is nothing more amusing than the never-ending debate on the GOAT in the NBA. Fans and various NBA analysts share their opinions, facts, and personal preferences on the best player in NBA history. The majority of people today would probably say it’s Michael Jordan, and rightfully so. He belongs in this conversation, but other big names, especially players from the ’60s or ’70s, often get neglected when it comes to these debates.
It’s great to hear former players’ opinions on this subject, especially those involved in the NBA for several decades, like Walt Clyde Frazier. Frazier was a great player in his own right back in the day and had the opportunity to play against numerous legends. He is still a big fan of the game and watches the NBA to this day, so his thoughts on the topic are insightful.
Frazier is firm on the belief that the only way to answer who the GOAT is is if you set up the criteria in the right way. For him personally, Wilt Chamberlain is the most dominant player in NBA history, whose records will never be broken. On the other hand, depending on what criteria you set up for this debate, it could be other players that in some ways accomplished more than, for example, Michael Jordan, whom he believes belongs in this conversation but for him is not the GOAT.
I always say what is the criteria. If you are talking about the most dominant, then it's Wilt Chamberlain because the guy has all the records. If you are talking versatility, it's Oscar Robertson, the guy who averaged a triple-double for almost his entire career. Talking about winning, it's Bill Russell; the man has 11 world championships, so what is the criteria? Michael Jordan is not the leading scorer in the history of the game, he is not the winningest player in the history of the game, he is not the most versatile player in the history of the game, so how you can you say he is the greatest player.
Walt Clyde Frazier, via The Buster Show Highlights
The GOAT debate depends on personal preferences because there were several legendary players in NBA history whose impact is hard to measure. It’s understandable if someone, for example, doesn’t include Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain in this discussion if they haven’t seen them play. Frazier has been so long involved with the NBA, and he is one of the rare people out there that can make a valid assessment of whether someone is the GOAT or not based on their personal and team achievements. He obviously doesn’t believe Jordan is the GOAT, which is perfectly fine, but it’s essential to have a diversity of thought on this matter.