Stephen A. Smith Photo Credit: First Take

According to Stephen A. Smith, Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all time and he’s bothered by seeing Italians figure that out before Americans.

Earlier this week, Jordan took a stroll through the streets of Italy as fans followed him around while making ‘baaah’ noises, implying that he is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). While Smith agrees with the Italian fans, he put Americans on blast for still entertaining the Jordan vs LeBron James debate, an annoyingly timeless segment for sports shows throughout the country.

“That saddens me,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take after watching video of Jordan walking around Italy to the tune of goat sounds. “It saddens me that we have to travel across the ocean to see people from another country recognizing what everyone in America should already know. Michael Jordan is the greatest ever. And the fact that that sound has to be echoed in Italy as opposed to throughout the streets of America because we got young whippersnappers being influenced…talking about someone other than Michael Jordan being the greatest is a travesty.”

Smith furthered his sadness by claiming Italians making goat sounds exemplifies why other countries are churning out so many great NBA players. Europeans recognize Jordan’s greatness, and in return, they’re breeding great players.

“We see the greatest players in the world right now, primarily from Europe. We got Jokić, we got Giannis, we got Luka and people like that. Okay? America! Stand up and take this sport back!” Smith pleaded. “Take it back! Because you see what they’re doing over there overseas. They recognize who the true GOAT is and there’s no confusion.”

No one has enjoyed a more rapid rise in the world of sports and entertainment than the goat. The “goat of the game” used to be reserved for the player who deserves the most blame after a loss. Now, the “GOAT of the game” is reserved for the greatest players, to the point where getting “baah’d” at is deemed a compliment.

People are unlikely to stop having the Jordan vs LeBron debate in America, despite Smith’s attempt at settling it once and for all. But the most surprising thing about his pleading with America to recognize Jordan as the GOAT, is the fact that after years of claiming they disagree on everything, Smith aligned with Skip Bayless on a hot-button sports debate.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to