LeBron James and Rich Paul Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James’ longtime agent and friend, Rich Paul, made a statement that has sports fans talking.

In an appearance Monday on the Gil’s Arena Podcast with Gilbert Arenas, Paul said James has had a tough experience as the first NBA star to play in the era of 24-hours news and social media.

“LeBron is the first player to have to deal with a 24/7, 365 news cycle of sports and opinions,” Paul told Arenas. “The crazy part is, LeBron James may not just be the first NBA player to deal with that. He’s quite possibly the first major athlete in human history to play his entire professional career in the social media era.

“No GOAT before him has ever had to deal with that.”

There’s no question that social media and the 24/7 news cycle have dramatically changed the way the media covers sports and how fans interact with athletes. James came of age just before the dawn of the social media era, so he has shared the same experience with contemporaries such as Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul.

But addressing Paul’s GOAT reference, meaning a comparison between James and Michael Jordan, obviously MJ didn’t have to worry about social media trolls and the like. Paul also poked a hornets nest by bringing up the controversial LeBron vs. Jordan GOAT issue.

Paul’s “first major athlete in human history” is going overboard, though. LeBron is known as “King James,” but in the rest of the world, where soccer is the real king, there are a number of international stars who came of age under the social media spotlight.

Still, Paul’s statement has made for fascinating debate on, appropirately enough, social media.

https://twitter.com/dancing_brick/status/1699451628384821260

[Clutch Points]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.