American track and field sprint World Champion, Noah Lyles, recently stirred up a storm by challenging the NBA’s tradition of calling its champions “world champions.”

His remarks drew sharp criticism from NBA players such as Kevin Durant, among others, and analysts like Stephen A. Smith, but Lyles remains steadfast in his perspective.

In a conversation with Chris Cohen of GQ, Lyles shared his thoughts on the reactions to his comments. He noted the barrage of criticism from NBA players, likening it to a flurry of “air balls.”

Lyles emphasized that the sentiment he expressed has been echoed globally for years, and this time, the NBA world took notice. Even global superstar Drake waded into the conversation, which Lyles found amusing.

Despite the spirited discussions, Lyles firmly stated his belief in the NBA’s status as the premier basketball league. However, he underscored the importance of recognizing the distinction between the national and global aspects of sports.

Lyles emphasized that a world championship title should entail competing against the best talent from around the world. In his view, to claim the title of “world champions,” NBA teams should face international competition, acknowledging that there’s more to the world of sports than the national perspective.