Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles won big during the World Athletics Championships. Both American sprinters were on the podium in the 100m, 200m and 4×100-meter relay races. Lyles brought home three gold medals and recorded one of the fastest times, placing him second behind Usain Bolt in the 200m race.
Lyles defended his World Championship title in a press conference shortly after his win. He criticized the NBA for giving players the title, although they only compete in the United States and Canada.
“You know what hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA Finals, and they have ‘world champion’ on their head. World champion of what? The United States?” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the U.S. — at times — but that ain’t the world. That is not the world. We are the world. We have almost every country out here fighting, thriving, putting on their flag to show that they are represented. There ain’t no flags in the NBA,” Lyles added.
You can only be a WORLD champion if you beat individuals or teams representing the WORLD.
Being the “best in the world” and a world champion are different.
One is subjective, one is fact.
*Note: you’ve yet to see any non-american NBA players take issue with this sentiment 👀 pic.twitter.com/UZ7Sz00nej
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) August 28, 2023
The world champion received criticism from several NBA players following his comment, including athletes such as Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Damian Lillard.
Lyle’s fellow Team USA teammate Sha’Carri Richardson took to social media to publicly support him.
“I’m standing with Noah on this one!!” she tweeted. The organization has players from different countries but do they compete against different countries. You have to go against the world in order to be a world champion!!”
Richardson took home the gold in both the 100m and 4x100m relay races. She also won a bronze medal in the 200m final.