Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge appeared to be taken aback after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James deemed himself the greatest basketball player of all-time over the weekend.
James said in an episode of “More Than An Athlete” that overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors and winning the 2016 NBA title for the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the greatest.
Ainge, who won two titles with the Celtics as a player and one as an executive, was a bit more skeptical when he spoke about James’ comments on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” Show on Thursday.
“His career's not over,” he said. “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.”
Ainge did, however, say James at least belonged in the greatest of all-time conversation.
“Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time,” he said. “But time will tell. I don't know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different.”
James reignited the debate with his comments seen in a snippet on the UNINTERRUPTED Twitter handle.
“That moment right there made me the greatest player of all-time, that’s what I felt,” he said, referring to winning a championship with the Cavaliers. “I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought. The first wave of emotion was everyone saw me crying. That was all for 52 years of everything in sports going on in Cleveland. And then after I stopped, I was like, ‘That one right there made you the greatest player of all-time.’”