NBA stars rip US sprinter Noah Lyles over ‘world champion' comments

NBA stars rip US sprinter Noah Lyles over ‘world champion' comments originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Noah Lyles made noise on and off the track at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 26-year-old American became the first male sprinter to win both the 100m and 200m events since Usain Bolt. Lyles, who claimed a 200m bronze at the 2020 Olympics, also became the first male sprinter since Bolt to win three straight 200m world titles. Lyles picked up another gold in the 4x100m relay as well.

And while he was in the midst of adding three more world championships to his medal case last week, Lyles took aim at the NBA and its usage of the term "world champion."

"You know the thing that hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA Finals and they have 'world champion' on their head," Lyles said. "World champion of what? The United States? Don't get me wrong, I love the U.S., at times, but that ain't the world. That is not the world. We are the world. We have almost every country out here fighting, thriving, putting on their flag to show that they are represented. There ain't no flags in the NBA."

The comments were shared by ESPN on Instagram and several NBA players chimed in with their thoughts in the comments. Unsurprisingly, they didn't agree with Lyles.

Here's a look at how Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and others reacted:

Kevin Durant: Somebody help this brother

Devin Booker: [Facepalm emoji]

Damian Lillard: Tf [two laughing emojis]

Draymond Green: When being smart goes wrong [facepalm emoji]

P.J. Tucker: [Facepalm emoji] can't make this s--- up

Aaron Gordon: Whatever... I'm smoking buddy in the 200m [dashing away emoji]

Bam Adebayo: Lol Is Somebody Going To Tell Him??

Tyus Jones: Yea this ain't it [facepalm emoji, laughing emoji]

It's certainly an interesting discussion. No, the NBA doesn't include teams from all around the globe. But it is by far the world's top basketball league, making the Larry O'Brien Trophy the sport's most difficult piece of team silverware to obtain.

Maybe the debate can be settled with a Noah Lyles versus Aaron Gordon race at NBA All-Star Weekend in 2024.