Drake and Noah Lyles

Cole Burston / Contributor via Getty Images and picture alliance / Contributor via Getty Images

Drake Clowns Noah Lyles Over NBA "World Champion" Comments

  /  08.28.2023

Track and field star Noah Lyles sparked a firestorm in the sports community, triggering impassioned reactions from both NBA stars and Drake. On Sunday (Aug. 27), Lyles decided to critique the term “world champion” in the context of the National Basketball Association Finals.

After bagging three gold medals at the World Athletics Championships, the Florida native spoke at a press conference. There, he questioned the international validity of the label. “I watch the NBA Finals and they have ‘world champion’ on their head. World champion of what? The United States?” he asked. “I love the U.S., but we’re talking about a competition that almost exclusively features American teams. That’s not ‘the world.'”

Social media swiftly turned Lyles’ commentary into a hot topic. Plus, NBA superstars were quick to weigh in. On Instagram, Kevin Durant said, “Somebody help this brother,” while his Phoenix Suns teammate Devin Booker offered a facepalm emoji.

Elsewhere, Aaron Gordon was less diplomatic. He wrote, “Whatever… I could beat him in the 200m.” Even Drake chimed in today (Aug. 28). “He thought this speech was going to be a mic-drop moment,” the Canadian rapper stated. “Now, he’s getting zero respect from the league.”

The NBA consists of 30 teams, and except for the Toronto Raptors, all are U.S.-based. On the other hand, the league does include a plethora of international talents like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.

Previously, critics have called out American-centric sports like the NFL and MLB for using similar language. However, Lyles’ remarks struck a nerve and subsequently forced the conversation back into the limelight.

Damian Lillard summed up the sports world’s reaction with a two-word comment: “The hell?” followed by a pair of laughing emojis. While some like Juan Toscano-Anderson defended the NBA, stating it offers “the best competition in the WORLD,” the discussion raised questions about the semantics of athletics achievements globally.


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