The greatest winner of the NBA since its creation, all-time defender, leader of a dynasty whose dominance is still unmatched, Bill Russell undoubtedly has the necessary arguments to sit at the table of the greatest players in history in our sport. But concretely, what place does the pivot of the Celtics occupy in the latter? It’s time to take out our magnifying glass to look at the question.
This is a question we would like to ask ourselves in other circumstances. After the death of Bill Russell last night at the age of 88, the memories, anecdotes, achievements of the latter have all resurfaced to remind us how the Celtics center was an amazing player, both literally and figuratively. in appearance. For some, Whiskers is the greatest player in NBA history because he won the most titles. Sound reasoning, but very simple. For some, he doesn’t even deserve this discussion because of the era he played in, whose level of play seems irrelevant. Sound reasoning, but also very simple. Throughout his life, Bill Russell never stopped standing, becoming an orange ball legend in many ways.
Already, as most fans know, Billou remains to this day the man who has won the most NBA championship titles, with eleven bagouze on his fingers in just thirteen seasons. IThere is still a very high chance that no one will make it to the show. And let’s not even mention the fact that of these eleven flags, eight of them are hung in a row from the ceiling of the TD Garden. If we see that even Stephen Curry’s Warriors failed to achieve a three peats…And then let’s not forget that at the time, no Finals MVP was named. If Michael Jordan can now boast that he alone has been named six times, there is a world where Mister Russell has almost twice as many. Because yes, whether we like it or not, The Stuffer is the undisputed leader of one of the greatest dynasties in history, or at least the most successful: the Celtics of the 60s. of the best teams, inevitably, it puts you man in the highest strata of the big League.
Perhaps more than anyone else, Bill knows what it takes to win and what it takes to lead. On the court, he is the greatest champion in the history of basketball. Besides this, he was a civil rights trailblazer—marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali.
—Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 31, 2022
And if only the rings were there… Individually, The Good Lord has been named MVP five times, a somewhat closed club as he is tied only with MJ (5) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6). Except for his rookie season where he was hot, he was named an All-Star every season, twelve times. Beyond the purely technical aspect, it is therefore a real recognition that benefits the pivot, that of a player who, despite an oil worker behind him, is considered a monster in his own right rights. Wilt Chamberlain may have gone 50/25 in the 1961-62 season, but Bilou was voted MVP because he was the boss. The boss, he always is, no matter the circumstances. In 1968 then 1969, he even allowed himself to become the first person to become a champion as a player AND coach. Shaq himself admitted that he would not dare to compare himself with his predecessor. Because who dares to say that what he achieved is simple? Who would dare say that without him, the C’s would be so dominant? There are questions we should ask ourselves, but there are also truths we cannot ask.
on on the other hand, so there are things that we cannot do without seeing. Yes, there is more talent in the NBA than ever before. But what can be more normal because almost 60 years have passed, and men are playing Converse at 40,000 per hour. No need to compare, so let’s agree on that. But we can analyze, analyze, and realize that in an era also populated by potential Hall of Famers, Billou dominated like few have. On defense? Maybe we’re talking about the boy who made it important to win titles. When the counters are counted? We can tell you that we know someone who blacked out on the stat line. And if you are the first to do something that has become common today, you are simply a pioneer, a trailblazer who opens the way for a new form of basketball, a new game of indeed. Yes, Bill Russell wasn’t a flamboyant forward – just 15.1 career ppg on 44% shooting – but in his style he was the best. With 21,620 catches, he is the second highest rebounder in NBA history. The only player in the top 10 who has not yet reached 1,000 games played, however he is far behind the famous Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, third. As always on the field, only Wilt Chamberlain was able to stand up to him.
All that being said, what do these elements show when it comes to ranking the best players to ever play in the NBA?
Bill Russell’s career is probably something that won’t happen twice. The pivots obviously dominated the game, from his opponent Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, not forgetting of course Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal. What else does Russell have? Of course, titles. In most cases, individual differences as well. We know this very well: classifying a player according to his trophies is a criterion, but he is not the only one. In terms of contribution to the sport and the league, Bill Russell clearly holds a lot of cards. Of course it preceded the other names written above, but theirs also and above all paved the way. In an NBA that is light years away from others as well, but his dominance and the development of his season are bad. Without Russell? The NBA doesn’t take the idea of defense lightly, with a lot of interest. Man has made it important to be efficient when it comes to protecting his basket. The place he should occupy in an all time ranking is very subjective, but it is not correct to place M’sieur Bill outside the top 10. When it comes time to make the Top 100 All Time, our two (h ) experts Bastien and Alex also placed The Stuffer in 7th and 6th position. Again, it’s up to everyone to make their choice, but very few players today can claim to be placed ahead of Russell on such a list.
From his first NCAA titles to official decorations throughout his career, Bill Russell will leave an indelible mark on NBA, sports and even history with a capital “H”. If it is impossible to say the exact place he occupies in the ranking of the greatest players in the League, it is difficult to imagine such a legend outside the top 10, and some will even tell you that it is impossible to find five players who scored more basketball than him.
Source: NBA, ESPN