Anonymous asked in SportsBasketball · 10 years ago

Why do people often discredit Bill Russell? MJ didn't get anywhere close to 11 rings?

Is it because Russell is a big man and MJ is small........


MJ is a great player no doubt but i'm not sure if he's the greatest. Maybe the greatest guard.

Update 2:

MJ is a great player no doubt but i'm not sure if he's the greatest. Maybe the greatest guard.

Update 3:

biger so what? the competition int he nba is usually only between than a handful of teams.......

Update 4:

scratch out than

Update 5:

in the 2000s so far only the Spurs, Lakers, Detroit, Heat, and Boston have I missing anyone else?

12 Answers

  • MyKill
    Lv 5
    10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Bill Russell is the GOAT in terms of accomplishments.

    5 MVP's, 11 rings and numerous statistical records in JUST 13 years. Nobody else comes close.

    Back in 1980 where there 23 teams during the NBA's 35th anniversary when Russell was voted by basketball writers , experts and pundits as the Greatest Player of All Time, the argument that Russell played in a "weak era" because he played in an 8 team league or there were plenty of white guy back then etc. was NEVER brought up.

    Maybe because it was a STUPID argument to begin with. Boohoo. Russell played in an era with white men a plenty. If this isnt one of the most prime examples of Black racism. Attributing basketball talent (on which athleticism plays but a small part) with race is stupid and embarrasing. For shame . . . . we're supposed to be better than this.

    Russell played with and against TALENTED basketball players, black and white.

    Cousy's peripheral vision was such that people joked that his eyelids couldnt cover his bulging eyes. Jerry West has the same shirt sleeve length as Wilt Chamberlain who is 10 to 12 inches taller than he is. Havlicek's stamina allows him to constantly run for 48mins and cover 8 miles. These white guys are athletically gifted and could definitely play basketball.

    In those days non-blacks dont have an inferiority complex when it comes to basketball (and blacks dont have a superiority complex).

    Attributing the difficulty of blocking an opponent to that person's athleticism (ie. jumping ability in today's ESPN era) is stupid. Offensive talent is what makes b-ball player difficult to block and this includes various skills like ability to fake, lateral movement, off-balance shot, least of which is athletic ability. I dont remember Larry Bird being easy to block despite being white, ugly and unathletic. Hell, most players today would rather leave themselves vulnerable of being block by going to the hoop instead of using safe moves like hookshots.

    To clear somethings first, the 24-sec. shotclock was already in place in 1954. The 3 second rule was introduced in 1936. Illegal defense was already in place since 1947. Defensive goaltending was instituted way back during Mikan's college days (pre-1950's). Offensive goaltending was instituted during Russell's senior year in college (1956).

    On Russell having NO "all around skills" . . . .

    Before somebody oversimplifies the game of basketball by limiting its skill aspects to simply "offense" and "defense" Im gonna put his in. There are actually four main skill aspects in basketball (and even this is an oversimplification): scoring (shooting, post ups etc.), defense, rebounding, ball movement(passing, dribbling).

    Russell is an awesome rebounder averaging 22rpg, a suprisingly good ball handler for a big man since he often runs the ball after rebounding to get a clear pass downcourt and start the fastbreak, and of course a great defender. He is also a great passer; he consistently ranks in the top 10 assists and thats beyond what you would expect from a center. Not most guards could do that. His scoring is alright at 15ppg on 13FGA. Not exactly mind blowing numbers but then EVERYONE on the 60's Celtics doesnt have mind blowing PPG. Red Auerbach runs a structured offense wherein all five guys on the floor have the opportunity to shine and score. The highest scorer on the team averages only 22ppg and there are five to six other guys scoring in double digits. Russell or anyone else on the Celtics need not to fully exert themselves on offense because the scoring is distributed. Russell has the same shooting percentage as the top two scorers (Sam Jones and Havlicek) on the team. Anyway back in college, Russ was scoring 20ppg with a 52FG%.

    The Celtics often has no one in the top 10 PPG but in return has two guys Russell and Cousy (or KC Jones) in the assists department.

    To wit, Russell is an awesome rebounder, an awesome defender, a great passer and ball handler especially for someone of his size and position, and a decent scorer. . . . . and people still call him as having no all around game? Magic has a career average of less than 20PPG, but no one is using that an excuse to discredit his "all around game".

    Anyway, players playing as centers or power forwards - the tall guys usually - are drilled to have specialized skills (like rebounding and low post manouvers). They help the team better by focusing on these skills which is why they are usually NOT ENCOURAGED to have all-around skills like guards and forwards. There are exceptions of course like Wilt and Russell who are often found in the top ten in assists, a stat usually reserved for guards. Using the argument "so and so guard/forward has more all around skills than so and so center/PF, therefore so and so guard/forward is greater" is FLAWED and BIASED.

    You cant use Jordan's or anyone else's "all around game" as an excuse to put him over Russell in a GOAT debate.

    Source(s): On Russell playing in a weak era . . . . The level of competition in Russell's era in the 60's is exceptionally tougher. Why? Because the level of competition is dependent on the quality of players on the League NOT on the quantity. And during that time, the talent is concentrated into just 8-9 teams. The top talent in the 90's are diluted into 30 teams which makes for weak competition. The NCAA and NIT (when it still mattered) was concentrated in only 8-9 teams. The 24th pick of the 1st round today would be the final pick of the 3rd round in the 60's. Only the cream of the crop get to play in the NBA in the 60's. To cite an example, Russell would face off Wilt Chamberlain 8-9 times a season. When he is not fighting Wilt, he is fending off other Hall of Famers 8-9x again like Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas, Willis Reed etc. you get the drift. They have to work their butts off almost everytime. In contrast, Shaq only facedoff with Ewing in the East 4x and faces-off with Hakeem and Robinson in the West 2x. The top centers spend most of their time fending off middling talent like Ilgauskas. Where is the challenge in that? You consider this a competitive era? Russell and Wilt dueled 142x during a ten year period. Compared that to Bird and Magic who for close to eleven years, only dueled 37x. The top players in the 60's face an opponent worthy of his abilities MORE OFTEN. During the 90's, there were 6 teams that were added into the League. Thats 72 slots for less talented players to fill. Players who wouldve been cutoff at training camp in the 80's got their chance in the 90's. And oh, the average height of centers back then in the 60's is 6'10, the same as Russell's height. The sixties having 6'6 centers is an urban legend. Also in theory free agency should make it difficult for a team to hold on to a championship roster and prevent them from dominating year after year but in practice, it actually does the REVERSE. Since free agency was implemented in 1986, championship teams had the habit of repeating as champs. The last team to repeat in Pre-1986 was the Russell-lead Celtics in '68 and '69. In fact the '70's was described as a decade of parity where there was a different champion year after year. Besides, the turnover rate of players in the '60's even without free agency is quite high as most players (ie. the non-superstars) have one year contracts. Anyway, the old Celtic players in the 60's have very little reason to move out and try greener pasture. Youre already part of a championship team and nothing beats the locker room camaraderie of the dynasty Celtics. Guys like Wayne Embry and Willie Naulls who are old and established b-ball personalities before coming to the Celtics gushed about their new Celtic family. On Russell having great teammates . . . . The Celtics are loaded with Hall of Famers because almost every other team in the League in the 60's are LOADED also with Hall of Famers. Like i mentioned before, talent are concentrated in the 60's. Multiple Hall Of Famers are the norm unlike in the 90's were the top teams only got 1 or two Hall of Famers in the roster. The St. Louis Hawks have: Bob Petit Ed Macauley Slater Martin Cliff Hagan *Clyde Lovellete and Lenny Wilkens in later years San Francisco/ Philadelphia Warriors Neil Johnston Paul Azirin Tom Gola *Wilt Nate Thurmond Rick Barry Syracuse Nationals/ Philadelphia 76ers Red Kerr Dolph Schayes Hal Greer Frank(?) Costello Billy Cunningham *Wilt Minneapolis/LA Lakers Vern Mikkelsen Baylor West Gail Goodrich Rochester Royals (Sac Kings) Jack Twyman Oscar Robertson Jerry Lucas To debunk the myth that Bill Russell only won championships because of his talented teammates . . . . . The Celtics NEVER went to the NBA Finals before Russell even with Hall Of Famers like Coach Auerbach and players like Macauley, Cousy, Sharman, and Ramsey. Andy Philip, Clyde Lovellette and Arnie Risen DID NOT play their Hall of Fame game in Boston. Think of Hakeem Olajuwon during his past his prime Toronto Raptors days. Andy Philip played only 2 years in Boston and was known more for his time in Fort Wayne. Arnie played only 3 years and spent the bulk of his career in Rochester. Clyde played only 2 years and is more known as a St. Louis player. Back in the '62 season, Russell took himself out for 4 games and the Celtics lost 4 straight games even with Red Auerbach, Cousy, Sharman, the Joneses, Ramsey and other HoF's. Back in '69, Russell took himself out for 5 games because of an injury and the Celtics lost 5 straight even with HoF's Sam Jones, Havlicek, Satch Sanders, and Bailey Howell. The instances that i mentioned are the two worst losing streaks of the Russell-era Celtics. The latter is the worst losing streak of the Celtics since Red Auerbach took over the helm. When Russell retired after the '69 season, the Celtics went down from 48 wins to 34 and they MISSED the Playoffs even with HoF's such as Havlicek, Sanders, Jo Jo White and Howell. A huge 14 game drop. And the modest 48 wins that the Celtics garnered during the '69 season is the lowest number of wins that the Celts have during the Russell -era and occured only because Russell spent a lot of time in the injured list and/or recovering. Theoretically speaking, the Celtics with an "Allstar" cast like that should be able to shrug off Russell's departure and continue the Celtic dynasty, in reality, they couldnt. The Celtic dynasty started and ended, at least the first part pre-Cowens, Silas etc., of the 70's with Bill Russell. Russell has 5 rings w/o Cousy. He also has 5 rings without Havlicek. He also has 2 rings without Red Auerbach as coach. How many rings does Jordan have without Pippen and Phil Jackson? How come that Chicago only suffered a 2 point deficit in the Win-loss column when Jordan first retired in 1994? How come Pippen was able to lead a Jordan-less Bulls to the eastern Conference Finals? Russell won 3 championships without Heinsohn and KC, 2 of which came as PLAYERcoach. Heinsohn by the way only won the '56 ROY because Bill was taken out of the running in all awards on his rrokie year because he signed his contract mid way into the season and played only half a season. KC who was drafted in '56 but only joined in 1958 because of Army Service, also was a bench player for the first four years. Sam Jones was a member of 10 Celtic championship teams but he was a bench warmer for the first four of those teams. He wasnt even the Sixth man of those teams. Russell brings out the best out of his teammates. He creates Hall Of Famers out of his teammates. This is what Wilt thinks whenever people say that Russell only won because of his HoF teammates: "That team (the Celtics) wasn't so great until he got there. Once he got there, he (Bill Russell) was the piece that they were looking for. A lot of people have said to me, "Wilt, what if you had that team? Boy, you would never have lost!" NOT TRUE. If I was on their team, I would be taking away from some of what the other guys were doing. Everybody had a role on that team. (Tom) Heinsohn wouldn't be getting the same number of shots, nor would (Bill) Sharman, nor would (Bob) Cousy because I'd be shooting the ball a whole lot more. Bill Russell gave them just what they needed. I would've given them a little bit more in certain things, which I think would have made the team NOT AS GOOD. I've always believed that he made that team exactly what it was supposed to be. And you couldn't get any better." - Wilt Chamberlain - third paragaraph from, Q: Can you talk more about Bill?
  • 4 years ago

    Bill Russell won 11 World Championships while playing for the Boston Celtics, including 8 Championships in a row. No matter how many more championships Michael could win, he would still not equal what Bill Russell did, 11 NBA Titles in 13 Years. Michael had 6 Wrold Titles in 8 Years. Everything else is speculation. Let's just say Michael may be the great Shooting Guard in the History of Basketball and Bill Russell is one of the 3 Greatest Centers in NBA History. Kobe may equal or pass Michael Jordan in NBA Titles, but Michael never lost in the NBA Finals and Kobe has lost twice already. Bill Russell also won 2 NCAA Championships and Michael Jordan won 1. Bill Russell won an Olympic Gold Medal in Basketball at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Michael did win 2 Olympic Gold Medals 1 in 1984 and 1 in 1992.

  • Vader
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Most young people who discredit Bill Russell pointed out the lack of competition in the center position in the 60's without even making a research. Some of them falseley claimed that Bill and Wilt's competition back then was only 6 feet and 6 inches tall (I often read that to some young Kobe fans). But the truth is that this self-proclaimed basketball-Kobe-fans don't have any slight idea of what basketball like in the 60's till the early 90's. So you have to ignore those 'experts' because their opinions don't matter in the first place.

    I'm a Michael Jordan fan and in my opinion he's the best ever player, BUT, I don't have a problem when someone called Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson or Wilt Chamberlain as the best player ever, since each of one of them has the accomplishment to be on top of the rankings.

    I've been saying this for long that the term g.o.a.t. is still much debatable since no player ever dominated in each accomplishments.

  • my basketball coach who was around in the time the nba (bba) started says to this day there is no better defensive player than bill russel, seriously he would tell me stories of how he at times would face up guard greats guards like jerry west, elgin baylor to wilt and petit, so what if there was 8 teams that means only the best of the best were selected to play, hell if we only had 8 teams today adam morrison wouldnt be in the league anymore, kobe wouldnt have been guarded by one dimensional scrubs, and why is russel not the blocks leader of all time, because for half of russels career they didnt record blocks as stats, and did i also mention he won 2 championships as a player/coach, i dont care who you are nobody could ever do that but him not to mention he was also a 5 time mvp of the league, and for those who keep saying centers back then were 6'6 white guys, two things first there were more 7 footers back then than there is today, second david lee is short and white for a center yet hes a double double machine, lastly chuck hayes owned andrew bynum nuff said

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  • 10 years ago

    People also forget how good Bill Russell's teams were. 7-8 HOF players at one time? Heck he had the most composition of talent during the era. Wilt even said that both of them switched places he would have had the rings Bill had instead of him. Jordan only had one HOF on his side, no great Big man to show but still got six rings in an era that was most punishing for a guard.

    Hope this helps.

  • 10 years ago

    Because there were only 8 to 10 teams in the league when Russell won most of his titles and there was no free agency so it was much easier to keep a dynasty together.

  • 10 years ago

    Because many Bulls fans-Just like any fans who become bandwagon jumpers..Started becoming a fan of the Bulls when they started winning-especially, in a 3-peat. They don't know sh!t about the team they Claim to be a fan of-they post their stats strictly from the PC info..So, how are they going to know about any other team???????? They don't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They can't give anyone else credit and respect. Sore losers are as bad if not worse than sore winners. If their favorite player leaves the team-many will follow that player and drop the team like a bad habit!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • nom
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    because most people who think that werent alive to see bill russell play.

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