Noah Lyles questioned the NBA 'world champions' label. Everyone had thoughts
When track and field star Noah Lyles questioned why people refer to NBA title winners as "world champions," everyone from Drake to Kevin Durant rushed to have their say. One analyst says it's a case study in American exceptionalism.
Who is he? Lyles is a 26-year-old track and field athlete from the United States.
- Last week, he won multiple events at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary — including the 100- and 200-meter sprints.
- He was the first man to take home both titles since Usain Bolt in 2015.
What's the big deal? There has been a lot of attention paid to Lyles since — but not for his wins.
- At a post-meet press conference, Lyles was asked about how to grow or improve his sport, to which he replied:
- The comments generated plenty of takes from every corner of the internet. A number of basketball players took offense and made it known via Instagram comments, while other international sports fans thought Lyle had the right idea.
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What are people saying? Lots.
Kevin Durant took to the Instagram comment section to say, "Somebody help this brother." Draymond Green wrote, "When being smart goes wrong." And even Drake also gave his two cents:
Gary Al-Smith, a sports journalist who focuses on African sports, told NPR he "never thought an American athlete would be so open minded." Here's Al-Smith on why many other countries share Lyles' sentiment:
The reaction from the US to Noah Lyles comments is the perfect mirror into American Exceptionalism, and it is fascinating.— Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) August 28, 2023
They genuinely believe the NBA winner is a world champion because the league has the world's best players, not because different nations play for it.
And here's Al-Smith on how American exceptionalism finds its way into athletics:
So, what now?
- NPR sought an interview with Lyles but did not hear back by time of publication. But his X account shows him reposting those defending his stance.
- And the track star thinks that in order to help his sport grow, they've got to flaunt how inclusive they are in comparison to many others: "We've got to be presented to the world."
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