Celtics' Danny Ainge says LeBron James may be taking the 'Donald Trump approach' with GOAT proclamation
Ainge did throw James a bone, saying he's at least better than Celtics great Larry Bird
We've been starving for a fresh chapter in the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, so this will do.
After LeBron James on "More Than an Athlete" on Sunday, Celtics GM Danny Ainge said that James has more basketball left to play. However, even more interestingly, Ainge wondered why James would make such a sweeping claim, going as far as suggesting James was taking the "Donald Trump approach."
If you need a reminder of what James thinks of Trump, here you go.
"His career's not over," Ainge told 98.5's "Toucher & Rich" on Thursday. "I'd just like to ... why he's saying that, I don't know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he's taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don't know.
"Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all-time. But time will tell. I don't know if anyone knows who the greatest of all-time is, because the years are so different."
Celtic legend Kevin McHale took a less incredulous and more direct issue with the comments.
"We all sit at this table all the time and sing his praises. I think LeBron is a great player," McHale said, via Boston.com. "I just think that's disrespectful honestly to Bill Russell. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan. There are just so many. Two of my good … Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson], just led teams and turned the league around. You don't need to say that about yourself. Let other people say that for you. I mean I was kind of surprised because I'd read about it, but that's the first time I'd actually heard him say it, 'Made me the GOAT.' I'm like, damn."
Ainge did try to soften the blow by saying James is better than at least one of those players, and a Celtic at that.
"LeBron went to the Finals," Ainge said. "I would have to say [he's better than Bird], just because he was able to have more durability and play at a top level of his game for longer."
The difference in eras will forever be the sticking point in these conversations, but James vs. Jordan is a debate that will keep raging on. Ainge doesn't seem to have a strong opinion one way or the other, but if nothing else he doesn't seem keen on James outright calling himself the best. This is the one comment that could get under James' skin, because he's made his opinion on Trump clear in the past. He may well take issue with a direct comparison.
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