Does Tiger Woods pick LeBron James or Michael Jordan as his NBA GOAT?

Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan during the pro-am for the Wachovia Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) Chuck Burton/Associated Press (2007)

Does Tiger Woods pick LeBron James or Michael Jordan as his NBA GOAT?

PGA Tour

Does Tiger Woods pick LeBron James or Michael Jordan as his NBA GOAT?

LeBron James.

Michael Jordan.

Wayne Gretzky.

And Tiger Woods.

The subject of athletes and sustained greatness came up at Woods’ pre-tournament press conference Tuesday at the 2018 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Woods offered his thoughts on what constitutes greatness and his choice between Jordan and James as his NBA GOAT.

“Well, first of all, when I was growing up, goat was a bad thing, right?” Woods asked rhetorically. “They’re both great in different ways. If you look at MJ, he was a prolific scorer and played defense like no other, was always first-team all defense. But LeBron is different. He’s like a hybrid of MJ and Magic (Johnson), which is so different. He’s bringing up the ball a lot. MJ never really did that. I mean, he had Pip as a point forward a lot of times, and you would think that was kind of LeBron-ish, but they’re very different in how they help both teams.”

Any choice between the James or Jordan as an NBA GOAT is muddied because of the differences in their games, Woods said.

“What M.J. did getting to the Finals and dominating the league like he did, he did it in a different way than LeBron is doing it, just because of the nature of their body, the build and their game and their mental makeup. But at the end of the day, they both win, and they’re both guys that we look at and say, it’s unbelievable what they’re doing, and they’re just changing the game, the game how it’s played. We didn’t know it could be played that way, and they both have done it..”

Woods saw one significant similarity in the success of James, Jordan and Gretzky.

“Being great is doing something that no one can do, but also what separates those people, the ones you mentioned like LeBron, or like what I’m thinking with M.J. or Gretzky, it’s just the duration, being able to do it not just for one year or one game or a little spell, they’re able to do it for a number of years, and accumulate highlights that we will always look at. They’re peppered in our memories,” he said.

And it’s that longevity that swings Woods back toward James.

Well, just a bit.

“What LeBron has done for, what, 15 seasons now is just remarkable because it’s that type of longevity, and to be able to be up for that long a period of time, and to be able to adjust, as well, because we all know as we age that we’re not going to be as athletic as we used to be, and so we have to do it different ways. And to be fluid and adjust and still be that talented and that good, and hats off to not just LeBron but the people I just named.”

Woods knows that all too well.

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