Noah Lyles just had a great weekend. He just won three gold medals at the 2023 World Athletic Championships in Budapest, and might’ve cemented himself as the fastest man alive. Unfortunately, the success went to his head at the same rate he moves on a track. At his press conference, he threw strays at the NBA and the Denver Nuggets for calling their championship, “a world championship.”
Noah Lyles is wrong. People who defend his stance are also wrong. He claims that a basketball team winning the NBA finals does not make them NBA champions. His entire point was that the NBA is just America and Canada. If this is his point, I just hope he can stop by Serbia while he’s in Europe to let Nikola Jokic know he’s too American to be a world champion.
It doesn’t matter what the name on the jersey says. Anyone who earns a championship at the highest level of competition for their sport is a world champion. Georgia were the world champions of college football last year, because Canada’s best players were already playing hockey. The Chiefs are world champs because of a holding call. And the Denver Nuggets are world champions because Nikola Jokic is the most destructive European to America since World War II.
It seems that Lyles statement was more in reference to national competition vs. international competition. For those reasons, his comments are as valuable as my father’s unwanted opinions on Fox News updates. His argument will start holding weight when other league’s best players stop leaving for the NBA the second they turn eighteen. Until then, the NBA is an American league that showcases the world’s best basketball players without exception, which makes their best team world champs.
Lyles is on a high horse because he just earned the title of World Champion, by himself. He thinks that becoming a world champion in anything happens by defeating other countries in head-to-head matchups. I encourage him to look at the history of basketball in the Olympics, or the nationality of NBA players. He’ll learn that Nikola Jokic, although plump, is just as good of an athlete as him.
It’s ok, Lyles. Have your fun. Just let the NBA have theirs.