Entertainment Sports Michael Jordan Once Said He Doesn't Like Being Called the GOAT — Here's Why In the wake of a stirring debate sparked by LeBron James' recent claim that he's the greatest player "of all time," NBA fans have resurfaced a 2009 interview with Michael Jordan in which he rebukes the title By Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 3, 2019 01:30 PM Share Tweet Pin Email In the wake of a stirring debate sparked by LeBron James’ recent claim that he’s the greatest player “of all time,” NBA fans have resurfaced a 2009 interview with Michael Jordan in which he rebukes the title. During a recent sit-down for ESPN’s “More Than an Athlete” series, James was talking about winning the 2016 NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers when he stated, “That one right there made me the greatest player of all time.” Many have since debated whether James, 34, or his NBA predecessor, Jordan, are more worthy of the title. And amid the deliberation, Jordan’s commentary on the subject while speaking to ESPN’s Michael Wilbon nearly 10 years ago has been brought back to the forefront, according to CBS. “I don’t want it in a sense because I think it disrespects Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West — you know all the guys that prior to me I never had a chance to play against,” the Charlotte Hornets team owner explained at the time of the GOAT title. “What everybody is saying I am, I never had the chance to compete against other legends that was prior to me.” Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty In fact, Jordan, 55, said that “when I hear it, I cringe a little bit because it’s a little bit embarrassing because no one knows.” Space Jam 2! LeBron James Takes Over from Michael Jordan in Sequel from Black Panther Director “I never had the chance, once again, to play against those guys,” explained Jordan. “I would love to have played against them but I never did. And for you to say that I’m better than him … I mean it’s your opinion; it’s their opinion. I accept that as their opinion.” If asked, Jordan doubled down, asserting: “I would never say that I am the greatest player.” Ethan Miller/Getty; D Dipasupil/FilmMagic Beyond basketball, James and Jordan are now linked in a much different arena: a Looney Toons one. LeBron James’ Sons — Ages 11 and 14 — Drink Wine: ‘That’s How Mature They Are,’ He Says James will appear in the upcoming Space Jam sequel, which is a continuation of the 1996 film which starred Jordan. While few details of the sequel are available, the original followed Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes in a desperate attempt to win a basketball match and earn their freedom.