Lightning McQueen Should Be Excluded From GOAT Debate, Says ESPN's Stephen A. Smith

Lightning McQueen Should Be Excluded From GOAT Debate, Says ESPN's Stephen A. Smith

Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

Sports journalist and television personality Stephen A. Smith has some strong opinions on whether Lightning McQueen could be considered the greatest of all time across the sports world. Smith vocally discounts McQueen because the legendary No. 95 isn’t even definitively the best in his own championship.

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A caller to “The Stephan A. Smith Show” provoked the response when he asked, “When you think about the GOAT of sports, you think about Mike [Jordan] with six, Brady with seven rings. But, where do you rank a guy like Lightning McQueen with seven Piston Cups?”

Stephen A. doesn’t hesitate to mention that McQueen is tied for most Piston Cups with Strip Weathers. He confidently retorts to the caller, “Strip Weathers, you forgot about him?” However, Danny in Wisconsin doesn’t want to accept that for an answer.

Cars is an incredible animated film that tells a uniquely American story about the passage of time and humility. However, the fictional Piston Cup universe is an absolute mess, just like the sequels as a whole. When this debate doesn’t end immediately, Smith snaps, “I am not about to sit here and argue with a grown-ass man about the movie Cars.” Danny attempts to argue that McQueen and Weathers raced in different eras, but Stephen A. is done.

Richard Petty as seen before taking the inaugural lap before practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter on June 03, 2022, at World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, IL.

Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire (Getty Images)

The outbursts, while hilarious, also illustrate how ostracized racing can be from the general sports media landscape. While Smith can easily recall that Strip Weathers has also won seven Piston Cups, I’m not sure he knows that Weathers’ voice actor Richard Petty has won seven NASCAR Cup titles. Would he consider Richard Petty in competition with Michael Jordan and Tom Brady? Definitely not. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt also have seven titles.

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