Noah Lyles: Basketball stars hit back after American sprinter ridicules NBA



CNN

Noah Lyles, the fastest man in the world right now, has caused a stir and seemed to annoy some of the biggest NBA stars by questioning why basketball players call themselves world champions after winning the NBA Finals.

The American sprinter won both the 100 and 200 meters world titles at the World Athletics Championships last week, becoming the first man to win a sprint double since Usain Bolt in 2015.

Speaking to reporters at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Lyles said, “World champion of what? The United States? Don’t get me wrong: I like the US sometimes, but the world isn’t.

“We are the world,” he added, referring to athletes at the World Championships in Athletics.

“We have almost every country here that is fighting, thriving and putting up their flag to show they are represented. There are no flags in the NBA.”

Lyles, who is never shy in front of the camera, seemed to take the comments ironically, laughing and smiling throughout his answer with the reporters. However, he did cause a reaction from some NBA stars.

Kevin Durant, a two-time NBA Finals MVP in his illustrious career, led the charge.

“Someone can help this brother,” he wrote on Instagram, in response to an ESPN post.

Four-time NBA champion Draymond Green also got involved, writing on Instagram, “When being smart goes wrong” with the face-palm emoji.

Denver Nuggets star Aaron Gordon, however, seemed to see the funny side, writing on Instagram, “Whatever…I smoke a buddy in the 200 yards.”

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 11: Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns leaves the field after being defeated by the Denver Nuggets 125-100 in game six of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 11, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona .  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photo, user agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Although the NBA is only made up of teams from the US and Canada, the majority of the world’s best players play in the league.

Many of the biggest stars come from abroad, such as two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić of Serbia and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece.

Fellow American sprinter and champion in the women’s 100 meters, Sha’Carri Richardson, joined the debate and defended Lyles.

“I’m standing here with Noah,” she continued social media.

“The organization (NBA) has players from different countries, but they compete against different countries. You have to go against the world to become world champion.”

We may not see Lyles or Richardson on the right side in an NBA game anytime soon.

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