Noah Lyles Questions NBA’s ‘World Champion’ Label

For years, the Champion of the NBA has been referred to as the World Champion. That’s because there are no basketball organizations outside of the United States that can truly compete with NBA teams. Recently, American Track and Field Star Noah Lyles, who anchored the US to victory in the men’s 4x100m relay, had a problem with the NBA calling themselves the ‘World Champions.’

“You know the thing that hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA finals and they have “world champion” on their head. World champion of what? The United States? Don’t get me wrong. I love the U.S., at times, but that ain’t the world. That is not the world. We are the world. We have almost every country out here fighting, thriving, putting on their flag to show that they are represented. There ain’t no flags in the NBA.”

The comments by Lyles generated a lot offense by players in the NBA:

Via Instagram

Drake also chimed in with his comments about what Noah Lyles said about the NBA.

Gary Al-Smith, a sports journalist who focuses on African sports, told NPR he “never thought an American athlete would be so open-minded.” Here’s Al-Smith on why many other countries share Lyles’ sentiment:

I would say a disproportionate amount of Americans actually believe that the NBA is — or that the winner of the NBA is — the world champion, because people from multiple nationalities, or the best NBA players in the world, play in the NBA.

That is very, very odd for me, because as a sports journalist, when you hear anything being described as the “world championship,” automatically in your mind, it’s [including] different countries competing.We never ever think of a world championship being about one team with multiple nationalities.

What’s wrong with Lyles’ comments?

The NBA is composed of Athletes from all over the world. Many different countries are represented. In fact, two of the greatest basketball players in the NBA right now are from outside the US. Nikola Jokic, who just helped the Denver Nuggets win the NBA Championship, is from Serbia. Giannis Antetokounmpo is from Greece. The list goes on.

If there’s a team or organization outside the NBA that thinks they could challenge for the rightful to call themselves ‘World Champions’ in basketball, then they should step up and do so. In fact, the last time I checked, the United States also took Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

NBAE via Getty Images

Free agent guard Austin Rivers, a former first-round pick, was cringing over Lyles’ comments and delivery. 

“Simply put,” he wrote. “Best players in the world play in the league. So… winning a NBA championship qualifies as world champs. [I don’t know] what’s more cringe, his comment or his voice and delivery.”

“First of all congratulations to your greatness, continue to represent this country the way that you do. I’m sure that he’s a good brother and the whole bit. He just came across as flagarantly ignorant and that needs to be said.”

– Stated by Stephen A. Smith on First Take

There’s a lot of evidence to prove that the comments that Noah Lyles made regarding the NBA Champion calling themselves ‘World Champion’ are completely uneducated.

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