I don't think it's a stretch that after the conclusion of The Last Dance, many people will point to that series as validation of why they consider Jordan the GOAT. We already knew how good he was, but now with an inside look of his entire career, I imagine that feeling is even stronger today. That's why I find this interview so interesting. It seems weird that someone as ultra competitive as MJ, who wanted to win or be considered the best at everything he did, has this sort of perspective when talking about the best of all time. Maybe it's because he knows he doesn't have to call himself the GOAT since everyone else with a pulse will so he can give an answer like this, but it's not a stance we've seen other guys take who find themselves in that conversation.
With Kobe, when he called himself the GOAT, it was more in jest
He probably believes that, but it was mostly all in good fun. Then, there's the other guy
LeBron is not like Kobe, he's 1000000% serious. Little different of a mentality compared to MJ wouldn't you say?
I think when you're talking about the GOAT, if you have to call yourself the GOAT then you truly aren't the GOAT if that makes any sense. I don't think it's crazy to think when asked this question MJ's answer would be more like LeBron's, but the way he chose to explain his answer almost makes me like him even more.