AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

GOAT.

It's the commonly used acronym for "Greatest Of All-Time," and it's been linked to plenty of athletes over the years _ Muhammad Ali, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Mariano Rivera and so many others.

It also has been tagged to Michael Jordan more than once, of course.

So when U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps was asked about GOAT status and how Jordan _ one of his idols _ will now forever be linked to him by the No. 23, Phelps had an answer ready.

"I guess everything happens for a reason," Phelps said. "Obviously, like you guys know, Michael Jordan has been an inspiration for me throughout my whole career. Watching what he did in the sport of basketball is something I always dreamt of doing in the sport of swimming. We've done a lot, but there is a lot more work to be done."
 
AP Photo/Harold Crawford
 
Jordan wore No. 23 in his career, and Phelps ended his Olympic career with 23 Olympic gold medals.
 
"Number 23 will always be a special number," Phelps said. "Always has been, and now it'll be even more special."