Noah Lyles is sitting at the top of the track and field throne after a star-making showing at the 2023 World Athletic Championships in Budapest. After winning three gold medals at the events, Lyles caused a stir after speaking at a press conference and challenging the world champion title bestowed upon the NBA champions year to year.
Noah Lyles, 26, is a six-time world champion and the leading 200m runner according to the World Athletics rankings system. As reported by USA Today, Lyles spoke last Friday (August 25) at a news conference and answered a question on how the American track team can raise interest and improve interest in the sport. Lyles came back with a fiery answer that matched his outsized personality on the track.
“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,” Lyles said to the reporter. “World champion of what? The United States?”
Lyles added, “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.”
While his words had some supporters, many online were quick to point out that the NBA is comprised of several international players, some of whom are champions in their own country. Last year’s NBA MVP was Nikola Jokic, a former second-round pick who hails from Serbia.
Speaking of the NBA, several players, including Kevin Durant and Devin Booker among others, had plenty to say about Lyles’ comments. ESPN’s SportsCenter X account compiled some of the comments, which can be viewed below. We also share a video from First Take discussing the quip.
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