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The Difference Between 'The Goat' and 'The GOAT'

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Michael Jordan or LeBron James, Tom Brady or Joe Montana, Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. There are countless GOAT arguments. But before there was 'The GOAT' there was 'The Goat' the opposite of the greatest of all-time. So how did this former term of disapproval turn into a boast? Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg explains in todays Sports Illustrated's Daily Cover.

Read the full transcript below:

Robin Lundberg: The term GOAT has become so synonymous with greatest of all-time, especially when arguing Jordan and LeBron that the animal might want to consider changing its name. For more, I'm joined by our senior writer Michael Rosenberg, who explored the origins of the term GOAT. Michael, I remember first hearing of it as an L.L. Cool J album. What did you find?

Michael Rosenberg: Yeah, well, that certainly took it kind of, I guess, mainstream. You know, Muhammad Ali always called himself greatest of all-time and his company was called Goat. But I don't think too many people know that. And then in 2000, L.L. Cool J. came out with that partly as a salute to Ali, his album, Greatest of All Time. And it's just gotten bigger and bigger. Obviously, we see it in emoji form. And what's interesting to me is, you know, I'm forty five and when I was a kid. The worst thing in the world. And sports was being a goat. That was the guy who blew the game. All of a sudden, it's the best thing you can possibly be in sports is to be the GOAT.

Robin Lundberg: Yeah, that's wild, right? Because it was the term for you totally screwed it up and now it's the term for. Hey, you're Michael Jordan.

Michael Rosenberg: Yeah. It's completely changed. And you know, the two terms are not related except for sharing the same letters and GOAT as we say now. Greatest of all-time. It just over took it. You know, I think there's a lot here with with L.L. Cool J with kind of hip hop culture becoming mainstream, with debate being so central to how we talk about sports. Now that, you know, the easiest way to get a headline in sports is to ask anyone who's ever played in the NBA, who's the GOAT and whatever they say, someone's gonna say, "No, they're disrespecting this guy or I don't think so. Or yes, he's right, whatever it is." So it's become so ubiquitous. You can't really be a sports fan these days. I don't think that goat is just a guy that cost the team the game. That's not how it works anymore.

Robin Lundberg: Yeah. Trust me, it's been a content goldmine for me in these times. I want to do it as an experiment right now and just call somebody who messed up the goat and see what happened. But we'll never know.

Michael Rosenberg: Yeah, it's kind of weird, and I was talking to Craig Ehlo and he was the guy who's guarding Jordan when he hit the shot in 99', and I said, you know, we thought you were the goat all those years. Turns out he was.

Robin Lundberg: Two goats. Michael, appreciate your time, as always.

Michael Rosenberg: Thank you very much. 

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