Unpacking Noah Lyles vs. The NBA

By Kyle Merber

August 30, 2023

He did what he said he would do – Noah Lyles is a triple World Champion. The performances speak for themselves, but Noah now speaks for all of us track fans, too. With great speed comes a bigger platform and Lyles is ready to put it to work.

The clip from his post-gold medal winning press conference went viral after he held up his own title of World Champion in comparison to those in the NBA. “World Champion of what, The United States?” The question is reverberating through the ears of sensitive basketball players who have taken offense with only millions of dollars to comfort their sorrows.

My fellow blog boy Kevin Durant commented on ESPN’s Instagram post saying, “somebody help this brother.” With three Olympic gold medals to his name, I would have expected @easymoneysniper to feel secure enough in his global accolades to give Lyles a pass!

It really isn’t a complicated position for Lyles to have taken: 29 of the NBA’s 30 franchises are in the United States. Comparatively, over 200 countries compete at the World Athletics Championships. And there is the difference between representing your country and an arbitrary TV market that a handful of billionaires decided on.

And if you are wondering what the former Saved By The Bell actor Mario Lopez thinks about the issue, then you’re in luck! Turns out he’s a track guy now, because as pointed out by the former fictional high school wrestling star, just because the Premier League has the best players in the world participating in the league, that does not make you a world champion.

I know this think-piece already seems like it was written by an AI bot randomly selecting celebrities to weigh in on their thoughts about something Noah Lyles said, but wait until you hear what Drake said!

If the goal was to get people talking then the first man to pull off the double since Usain Bolt has succeeded and is likely thrilled about it. This right here is why Lyles running so fast is good for the sport – he will speak his mind! It does the sport no justice to squander the attention being the fastest man in the world could receive. Had he taken the microphone and given a canned, bland soundbite, then there would have been no reach. Nobody would care.

But now they know his name. Next, they’ll hopefully want to watch him.

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Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.