Kevin Durant, NBA stars not happy with Olympian’s NBA Finals diss
Olympian sprinter Noah Lyles drew the ire of Kevin Durant and several other NBA stars for his recent polarizing take on the NBA Finals.
Lyles went viral for his rant during a press conference at the recently concluded World Athletics Championships in Budapest. The 6-time world champion took umbrage over the NBA using the term “world champions” to describe the team that wins the NBA Finals.
“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 US, at times. But that ain’t the world … there ain’t no flags in the NBA,” said Lyles.
"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
— Eurosport (@eurosport) August 27, 2023
Lyles then pointed to the World Athletics Championships as a true representation of a global competition, given that athletes from all over the world compete for their respective countries.
Once Lyles’ take spread across social media, NBA players began to take notice. Several of them expressed their disapproval through comments on an Instagram post depicting Lyles’ quote.
“Somebody help this brother,” said Kevin Durant.
“Whatever… I’m smoking buddy in the 200m,” said 2023 NBA Finals winner Aaron Gordon.
“Last time I checked, the NBA has the best competition in the WORLD,” said Juan Toscano-Anderson.
Devin Booker and Damian Lillard did not even dignify Lyles’ comments with a written response. The Phoenix Suns star commented a face palm emoji, while the Portland Trail Blazers point guard laughed off the take with a couple of laughing emojis.
Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and other NBA players respond to Noah Lyles' comments. pic.twitter.com/O1eApkNpFG
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2023
While NBA franchises do solely represent teams in North America, it is undoubtedly considered the best league in the entire world by a wide margin. During the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA season, the league rostered 120 international players from 40 different countries. More often than not, the best international players will try to make the leap to the NBA at some point in their careers.
Several of the NBA’s current top players, including the last five MVP award winners, were born and raised abroad.