Monday, February 17, 2014

Just Win, Baby

If you missed, Lebron James kicked up a storm a couple days ago when he named the four heads that would be etched on his b-ball "Mount Rushmore," with the claim that he'd be there himself one day (probably true).  But his four icons did not include Mr. Bill Russell (nor, for that matter, Wilt).   He named Jordan, Bird, Oscar, Magic.   Russ replied perfectly:
“Hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore. I’m glad you did. Basketball is a team game, it’s not for individual honors. I won back-to-back state championships in high school, back-to-back NCAA championships in college, I won an NBA championship my first year in the league, an NBA championship in my last year, and nine in between. That, Mr. James, is etched in stone.”
When I tweeted this, Charles P. Pierce replied: "He sent that back like it was a weak-ass Walt Bellamy hook."

Lebron's too used to pushover NBA centers today.  Would love to watch him drive the lane on Russ in his prime.  And, among other things, Russ averaged over 22 rebounds per game in his career--and a staggering 24.9 per game in his 165 playoff games.  Led league in bounds four times--even though Wilt was also in the league.  In an eleven-year period he never finished lower than 4th in MVP voting.  In same period he was the #1 defensive player--based both on stats and observation--in the league.  In the 1961 playoffs, he averaged 29.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 19.9 points.   I'm old enough to have watched him play, on TV, dozens of times. Lebron might re-shuffle his pantheon if he'd ever played him. 

2 comments:

tezgraffix said...

Def would have been a battle...Lebron prob has a few lbs on him. Don't know if Bill ever saw a 275 lb forward who could run n jump like LBJ

chaplinlives said...

I watched Russell play from 1962 until end of career. He remains the greatest player I ever saw. It irritates me that people who never seen him play just dismiss him, assuming incorrectly, that he couldn't play today. The Centers in the late 60's were great. Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Bellamy, Reed, Unseld, Zelmo Beaty & Elvin Hayes in Russell's last year, to name a few.
Russ won so much he failed to mention his Olympic Gold Medal, which his 56' team won by the biggest point differential in Olympic history, INCLUDING the "Dream Team."
He beat the 70's Knicks team in 69 Playoffs & then the Wilt, West & Baylor Lakers with EMMETTE BRYANT as his point guard in his FINAL year.
Defense wins championships & NOBODY played it remotely close to the greatness Russ did.