All of those aforementioned athletes have flawless résumés and could have strong arguments to be considered the greatest of all time. But there doesn't seem to be a consensus regarding who's the undisputed best among the best.
Recently, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James added fuel to that fire, stating that, as great as Tom Brady is, he can't be considered the GOAT athlete because of the nature of the game he plays.
LeBron James Says Tom Brady Isn't The Goat
“My only argument with a football player being the greatest athlete of all time is that they only gotta play one side of the floor, man,” James said, as quoted by CBS Sports. “Yes, Brady is unbelievable. Brady is the greatest quarterback I’ve ever seen, but he affects the game one way.”
“As physical as football is — and to the body, I know it’s crazy to the body — but for a quarterback, [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick has done a great job of implementing those five guys in front to protect that asset,” James continued.
“For us [as basketball players], every single night, you gotta know both sides. … When I played football, offensively, I never even talked to the defensive side. I never even talked to y’all. Ain’t nothing to talk about. I’m not saying he’s not great. He’s the greatest football player of all time,” James concluded.
That's a strong, yet valid argument. Brady has never been considered an elite athlete and he's not exactly mobile. So you could say that he should be completely out of the GOAT athlete conversation.
Tom Brady Replies
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, on the other hand, seems to agree with James to some extent. Even so, he believes that he's the best at what he does and that's more than enough for him:
“It really just depends what style you like,” Brady said on HBO's The Shop. “You could say, ‘Well, you’re maybe the most accomplished.’ I would say, ‘OK yeah, I’ve won a lot of games, Super Bowls and so forth.’ But my style of play might not fit everybody else’s, what their view of what that position should be. I can really just be the best with the body that I was given. There’s certain things that I certainly cannot do. And I have the awareness to realize, ‘OK, I can’t do those things.’ You can’t do everyone else’s job. I can’t block, tackle, run, catch — sure as hell can’t run — but I can throw the s— out of the ball. So, let me just do that. And let me do that really well.”
At the end of the day, this debate is futile and we'll always go in circles. Maybe, we should just enjoy instead of compare.