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Cedric Maxwell: LeBron James, not Michael Jordan, is the GOAT due to activism

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If you believe Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, Cedric Maxwell wants you to consider a new perspective.

The former Boston Celtics star joined NBC Sports Boston’s “Arbella Early Edition” to explain why LeBron James, not Jordan, should be considered the GOAT — for reasons that go beyond on-court talent.

“LeBron James is the GOAT now,” Maxwell said. “He’s the GOAT because, not only on the basketball side, but social issues: He’s been involved in every social issue that we look at.

“When somebody says, ‘Shut up and dribble’ — LeBron James has put his money where his mouth is, and that to me resonates. That’s why I think more of our players and more NBA people need to step up and find that same courage.”

James has consistently used his public platform to speak out against social inequality and call attention to racial injustice. The Los Angeles Lakers star has shared several statements on social media about the recent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and in 2014 wore a shirt reading “I Can’t Breathe” prior to a Cleveland Cavaliers game to call attention to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York police officer.

Jordan, meanwhile, has been criticized for staying out of politics and not taking a stand against racial injustice. Most notably, the former Chicago Bulls star took heat for not endorsing Harvey Gantt to become North Carolina’s first African-American U.S. Senator in 1990. He later rationalized his decision by noting that “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

Maxwell believes Jordan still values commercial gain over standing up for what’s right, which is why he believes James deserves the true “GOAT” title.

“During this pandemic, Georgia opened up, and there was a shoe store that dropped Jordan’s shoes during that time,” Maxwell said. “And it showed all these kids with no masks on (trying to buy Jordan’s shoes). Did Nike need that kind of publicity? Did Jordan need that kind of publicity?”

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