Mike Chiari@@mikechiariTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2023
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images
Reigning 100- and 200-meter dash world champion Noah Lyles took a shot at superstar rapper Drake in an interview with GQ Sports on Saturday.
Speaking to GQ’s Chris Cohen, Lyles was asked about a recent comment he made about the difference between a team winning a world championship and a team winning a league title, as well as the reactions he received afterward.
Last month, Lyles took issue with the NBA champions being referred to as “world champions,” and expressed his belief that there is a huge distinction being winning a championship internationally and domestically:
Eurosport @eurosport”I love the U.S… but that ain’t the world!” ❌
Noah Lyles throws shade at the NBA’s ‘world champions’ 🏀👀 pic.twitter.com/BRCJagckcK
Several NBA players went on to dismiss Lyles’ criticism, including Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Devin Booker:
SportsCenter @SportsCenterKevin Durant, Devin Booker and other NBA players respond to Noah Lyles’ comments. pic.twitter.com/O1eApkNpFG
Drake, who is a global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, also fired back at Lyles with the following comment on Instagram, per TMZ Sports: “He thought this speech was gonna be so hard in the mirror the night before…now the whole league doesn’t rate u.”
In the GQ Sports interview, Lyles further explained his stance and took a shot at Drake in the process:
“It’s just a situation where they finally decided to listen. I’ve been saying—the whole world, truly, has been saying that for years. It’s just this time they paid attention, and had an opinion.
“There are a bunch of funny things that come from it, like having Drake notice it. Like, Drake, what are you doing here? Go back home. This is an NBA conversation. But I couldn’t go on TikTok for more than three seconds because it would just be like, me. And I’m like, Can I see something else? I don’t want to see me. I go to Twitter to see other things.
“To be honest, I truly think the NBA is the best. That was never the doubt. But, there is a level of not understanding the two sides of sports. There’s the national side and there’s the world side, and you can’t have the world championship title without facing the rest of the world.”
Lyles’ point of view gained credibility to some this week when the United States fell to Germany 113-111 in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup.
While the United States had a talented team made up entirely of NBA players, it wasn’t even close to the best roster the U.S. could field if all of the top players were to play.
By contrast, most of the best American players and the best of the best from around the world play in the NBA, so it is arguably more representative of global superiority than the World Cup.
Regardless of which side is right, Lyles has remained steadfast in his stance, while NBA players will likely continue to recognize the Denver Nuggets as the reigning world champs.