LeBron James or Michael Jordan? Tom Brady or Joe Montana? Lionel Messi or Pelé? For some strange reason, we as people constantly find ourselves in a game of comparisons. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, one common debate is the argument of who is the Greatest Of All Time (The G.O.A.T.).
These arguments have taken place in bars, streets, classrooms, cubicles, and even churches. But this comparison game isn’t limited to sports. I’ve heard it take place on the subject of presidents, chefs, magicians, designers, and whatever else you can think of. Here’s my take on the subject, there is no Greatest Of All Time.
Let’s use basketball as an example. For us to say that LeBron James needs to win six championships just because Michael Jordan did is crazy talk. That template of “so and so must do blah blah blah to be like so and so” is disrespectful. We could be talking about a young woman having to live up to the expectations to be as successful as her mother, or a writer pressured to be the next Stephen King.
People are like snowflakes. Every one is different and no two are the same. Snowflakes are beautiful in the first place because they are unique.
There can truly be no “Greatest Of All Time” because time never stops, it continues. There are different circumstances and challenges for each generation brought into this planet. To say something like “Your Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t count because twenty years ago there were more genuine leaders” is both infantile and incorrect. Each generation or era has its own unique set of challenges.
To say something like “LeBron wouldn’t be as effective during the 90s” is also incorrect. Just because LeBron James plays in a different era than the 90s doesn’t mean he wouldn’t adapt to the physicality of that era. He likely would’ve adjusted his game accordingly.
I don’t believe there’s one great person who stands head and shoulders above the rest. I believe there are great people accomplishing goals in their respective fields, none significantly above the others.
Don’t get me wrong, comparisons are fun. I love them just as much as your average earthling. But they can be stressful to the individuals currently in our lives. We as a people must learn to put aside this childish game of “I’m better than you” and learn to appreciate the individuality of those in our lives.
We live in a special time, surrounded by special people. Appreciate the talents of those in front of you, before it’s too late.