New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier has an opinion on the ongoing debate about what it means to be a “world champion” in basketball. The Knicks guard, who is currently overseas competing in the FIBA World Cup with the French National Team, appeared to side with those who claim that an NBA championship and a world championship are not the same thing.
"If you participate in the World Cup or even the Olympics and you win, you have the right to call yourself world champions. The way I look at is NBA champions… It's just a title."
Evan Fournier on Noah Lyles' recent comments
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) August 29, 2023
The controversy started when Noah Lyles, a gold medalist for the USA track and field team, opined that an NBA championship does not constitute a basketball team being the best in the world.
“You know the thing that hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA Finals and they have ‘world champion' on their head,” said Lyles, per Sports Illustrated. “World champion of what? The United States?”
Lyles was quickly bashed by many from the NBA community who noted that, although many of the best players in the world are international, most if not all of them end up joining the NBA eventually for the prime years of their career.
Thus, according to that argument, winning an NBA championship does make a team the best in the world by extension.
It seems that Evan Fournier, however, is not a subscriber to that logic.
Fournier, who is from France, joined the NBA when he was selected by the Denver Nuggets in 2012.
He has been with the Knicks since 2021, although he fell out of the rotation last season as the Knicks made their push to the playoffs.
Fournier's French National Team beat Lebanon 85-79 in FIBA on Tuesday.