Earlier today Twitter and the internet exploded when tennis star Serena Williams bragged about having sex by announcing that she was pregnant.
Almost every post about her announcing that she will be having a baby called her the “GOAT” or, Greatest of All-Time, for those of you who aren’t up on the trends that the cool kids use these days.
Now, I am not saying that this term does not apply to Serena, in fact, I think she is the only women’s tennis player who should even be considered for the GOAT tag in her sport.
That being said, the term GOAT is used way too often, and way too broadly. It needs to stop. Not everyone can be the GOAT.
A quick history lesson, the first person to use GOAT was Muhammed Ali, he used it as a marketing thing, and in boxing video games well after he retired, this is how he was introduced in the ring. His brand still sell merchandise with his image and GOAT on it to this day, even after his death.
The term GOAT lost all of its meaning on April 13, 2016. The night of Kobe Bryant’s final game.
You’ll remember that Kobe went on a year-long asshole tour, where every town fawned over him and screamed about how great he was because he was retiring at season’s end. On the night of his final game, he went off for a shameful 60 points, shooting approximately 100 times.
But even before that game, everyone on the internet was labeling him the GOAT. Which is a bunch of garbage. Kobe is not the GOAT in the NBA. He’s not the GOAT of his generation. He’s not even the GOAT of the fucking Lakers. He was an above average player who had his prime when the internet took off, and parlayed a couple big games and titles into more fan than he should have had. He was a volume scorer, and not even the best at that.
Off the top of my head without looking it up, better Lakers players include Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Shaq, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor. So Kobe, at best, is probably the fourth or fifth best Laker ever. GOAT my ass.
Now everyone throws out the term for any superstar player that comes along. Steph Curry, despite having only 3-4 seasons of productive play, GOAT. Sydney Crosby, who is probably one of the two or three best players in the world right now, but nowhere near the best hockey player of all-time, GOAT. Any soccer player who has a big game on a big stage, GOAT. Some kid flips a fucking water bottle that lands upright on camera, GOAT.
I get wanting to praise players, and every generation thinking that their players were better than other ones, but there can only be one GOAT per sport ever, and just because you’re a famous player who hucks up a bunch of shots like Kobe did, that does not mean you’re the GOAT of anything. It means you’re a ball hog.
GOAT should be an exclusive term. Not something that gets tacked on to every little nuance of the games. Oh he’s the GOAT 3rd down running back. Oh she’s the GOAT at starts to the 100m dash. He’s the GOAT passing guard of all-time. Stop. Make it easy. GOAT is the best ever in a sport. Not at one thing.
While we’re at it, let’s list the definitive list of GOATs in each sport that I care about and know enough about to make a statement like this.
Basketball: Michael Jordan. The only person in the same universe is LeBron James.
Baseball: Babe Ruth. The only person close is Barry Bonds.
Golf: Tiger Woods. He would mop the floor against prime Arnie and Jack.
Hockey: Wayne Gretzky. He has every major scoring record. Maybe arguments for Mario Lemieux or Bobby Orr.
Football: Tom Brady. More titles and sustained success than anyone.
Women’s Tennis: Serena Williams and it’s not close.
Men’s Tennis: Roger Federer and it’s not close.
So yeah, unless you’re referring to one of those athletes listed above, stop using GOAT, unless you actually own a farm and you have the GOAT goat.