Following the comments of American sprinter Noah Lyles on NBA champions who proclaim themselves world champions, debates continue on this highly contested mention. Andreas Obst, world champion with Germany in September 2023, agrees with Lyles in comments relayed on Sunday by the Eurohoops media, specialist in European basketball.
The words of Noah Lyles (“World champions of what? From the United States?”) which date from August 28 have had time to travel around the world. Several NBA players were offended by the comments of the 100m world champion, such as Kevin Durant or Damian Lillard in comments on Instagram.
This made Andreas Obst react, world champion with Germany on September 10, who denounced the state of mind of American basketball players, who think they are world champions (a mention written on the banners hanging from the ceilings of the stadiums, when teams win an NBA title): “In the NBA they say they are world champions because the best players in the world play there, but they are champions of the national league. We, Germany, are champions of the world,” said the Bayern Munich player in comments relayed by Eurohoops on Sunday.
The guard also added: “In the NBA, they’ve always had this attitude, that they’re the best at something […] It’s funny that people always talk about it. They can call themselves whatever they want, it doesn’t change anything. We are the world champions (with Germany).”
Antetokounmpo compares “world champions” to football and basketball
After the elimination of the United States by Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup, the words of Noah Lyles made even more sense, supported by the opinion of the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, who spoke on the subject in the Bleav podcast: “I don’t think in any other sport you declare yourself ‘world champion’. In football, much wider and more popular than the NBA, when they win the Champions League, they just call themselves winners of the Champions League. When they win the World Cup, whether they play against the United States or another international team, there, they say that they are world champions .”
Europe at the top of world basketball
At the 2023 World Cup, which was played in Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, the final was 100% European (Germany-Serbia). The MVP of the 2023 regular season, Joël Embiid, is Cameroonian (although he also has French and American nationalities). The MVP of the 2023 NBA Finals, Nikola Jokic, is Serbian. In the major best five of the 2023 NBA regular season, there are four Europeans for only one American (Jayson Tatum). While the number one in the 2023 draft is French (Victor Wembanyama).
The list is long, but these achievements show that Europeans sit at the top of world basketball. To reaffirm their domination, the Americans, disappointing during the World Cup, will want to restore the image of ‘Team USA’, by trying to assemble a team that would be closer to a ‘Dream Team’ at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games .
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