Track star Noah Lyles is undoubtedly making a name for himself in the world of track and field. Lyles became the first man since Usain Bolt to complete a triple at Worlds with wins in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4×100-meter races at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary. However, the confident athlete is also getting some side-eye for some of his comments on what it means to be a world champ. After the race, he took the time to highlight how amazing the sport of track is, expressing his issue with NBA players using the title of “world champion” after winning the NBA Finals.
During a press conference, Lyles said, “You know what 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,” Lyles added, referring to athletes at the World Athletics Championships.
Grammy Award-winning artist Drake added his thoughts to the conversation. “He thought this speech was gonna be so hard in the mirror the night before… now the whole league doesn’t rate u,” Drake commented under a repost of Lyle’s comment followed by a series of laughing emoji’s.
Lyles responded, “Drake, what are you doing here? Go back home.”
Noah Lyles on backlash from ‘World Champions’ comment:
“Drake, what are you doing here? Go back home. This is an NBA conversation… To be honest, I truly think the NBA is the best… There’s the national side and there’s the world side, and you can’t have the world championship… pic.twitter.com/pc1jNgdceS
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 9, 2023
Drake isn’t the only one who had something to say. NBA players and Olympic Medalists Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Arron Gordon also commented. On an ESPN post, Durant, also a two-time MVP award winner, responded with “Somebody help this brother.” Four-time NBA champion Green entered the conversation, writing on Instagram, “When being smart goes wrong,” followed by the face-palm emoji. Denver Nuggets star Aaron Gordon, chose to poke fun, making a joke out of the comment writing on Instagram: “Whatever … I’m smoking buddy in the 200m.”
Milwaukee Buck Yannis Antetokounmpo, who spent much of his life playing ball in Greece, came to Lyles’s defense after the track star received backlash from Drake, Durant, Green and more for his comment about the NBA.
“I wanted to back him up so bad, you know,” said, Antetokounmpo, also an NBA champion. “He received so much backlash for saying the, like, obvious.” Antetokounmpo is also a perfect example of how the NBA has star power competition within the league from around the world.
Fellow US sprinter and 100m women’s champion Sha’Carri Richardson is another person who came to Lyle’s defense, agreeing with him. “I’m standing with Noah on this one,” she posted on social media. “The organization [NBA] have players from different countries but do they compete against different countries? You have to go against the world in order to be a world champion.”
What do you guys think about Lyles’s comment? Did he lie or speak the truth? DM me and leave your reaction below!
By Amariyah Mallory, Sophomore, Whitney Young
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