Greatest Basketball Players Of All Time
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I would simply like to say that with all due respect to the names listed here, you must remember that this is a TEAM game. If you wanted to talk about who is the best 1 on 1 player based on his individual talents and all around skills, then that is a different subject all together. The overall skill level of the game has certainly changed over the last couple of decades, but, some good, and some maybe not so good. The game was first played with much more physical play, and in most cases the player had more rules that restricted much of the modern day displays of athleticism, no doubt. But back to the main quest for who was the most dominant individual player of the game. There are only two names that stand out above all others, Statistically that should go to Wilt Chamberlain, but when you look at the ultimate goal for playing the game, it was to win a championship, and no one, not even M. J. , nor Kobe, came even close to the overall domination of the entire sport itself. Also remember that No rules were ever changed for M. J. , or Kobe, that would slow them down in there pursuit of excellence. Both Wilt & Russell did just that, they were so dominant, that the entire game was revamped in order to take away there athletic abilities, and that did not even change what Bill accomplished as a winner of the ultimate prize.
M. J. & KOBE, and all other modern day greats have had the rules enhanced in order to show case and favor there great athletic abilities, and never did they have rules which would take away there already physical advantages. So there you have it, if you are playing Golf, then stick with the man who won the most trophies, and Tennis the person who won the most titles, but when talking about a 5 man team, who else contributed more and accomplished more at every level of the game, College, 2 championships, Olympic Gold, 11 NBA championship out of 13 years playing, and the 2 years he did not win, he was injured. THIS IS A TEAM GAME, and the comparisons are right there in full view, the stats don't lie, you tell me how was it possible for someone to dominate to that level, and then there is the additional social and society issues that these black players had to endure, that were not as prevalent in the more modern era. Different times, different circumstances. A lot of hype in those modern showcases, I would never count this man out as the most dominant player who made the biggest impact at every level of this game we call basketball, Collegiate player, Professional Player, Coach, and so on, life experiences, and the continued respect of the people who surrounded him.
In RUSSELL'S AUTO-biography, he writes: It was at a Thanksgiving family setting when my Grandson had asked me a question? , Grandpa? "were ever as good as Michael Jordon? , Grandpa Russell looked down at his grandson, and said, "son, you've got that question backwards, you should be asking, "if whether or not M. J. was ever as good as your GRANDFATHER? "
And the footnote in a joking gesture bill said he was thinking of writing his grandson out of his will, lol.
Most opinions that I read about come from people who use stats. They simply are very misleading. And how does one define "best" basketball player? Is it the one with the best overall skills? Russell was not too good at dribbling or shooting.
But in a team game, I think it makes more sense to talk about how "valuable" a player is. In other words, what would occur if the team lost that player? How easy would it be to replace that player's skills with someone else?
If we look at it that way, then russell is a clear first. No one is even close. Russell was the Boston Celtic fast break, possibly the most dominating aspect that basketball has ever seen.
Russell got the rebound, turned, made his outlet pass, and the ball was near half-court by the time russell hit the ground. No wonder he was not scoring many points. Chamberlain, on the other hand, rebounded, shook his body, then handed off to his guard (hal greer most of the time).
When chamberlain got the ball, the rest of his team could take a nap, for all that it mattered. Wilt was gonna shoot, score or miss.
When russell blocked a shot, it almost always "miraculously" ended up in the hands of a celtic. Chamberlain's blocks went out of bounds. According to stats, each had a blocked shot. But in no way did they have equal effects.
With russell on defense, he intimidated shooters, because his body could get to places that no one else could. There is no stat at all for that.
One of the two years that russell did not win - he got hurt in the playoffs.
The celtics did not have the best individual talented players. But they had the most valuable player, and one that made everyone else better.
This is why the russell celtics were so dominant. I think russell's abilities were so unique that it might take 100 years to see another russell.
As long as the Celtics had Russell, they kept winning. I remember Red Auerbach saying that the year after Russell left (1970) and the team went dowhill. Russell blocked shots and kept the ball in play. His defense won games. He played against WIlt Chamberlain and except for 1967, when WIlt's team won, the Celtics won every year and beat out WIlt. Russell has a record nobody will ever achieve again- 11 championships in 13 years. Today, the game has changed. There are more big men and we now have essentially two centers. One is the traditional center and the other is the power forward. Kevin Garnett is a Russell-type shot blocker, but he plays power forward. It is much harder today for a center to dominate a game because there are two "centers" or big men per team. Russell made the Celtics world champions 11 of 13 seasons he played. I don't believe Russell could be this dominant in today's game. He was an intellectual player and basketball is an intellectual game. He was a student of the game. In 1970 in college I asked Bill how he could continually beat Chamberlain's teams as Wilt was about 4 or 5 inches taller. My recollection is he said, "Young man, I can jump flat footed and grab the top of the backboard. " He was an incredible athlete, a fact not that many people recognize today because Bill didn't lay the glamor position of a big time scorer. Guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade are great players. They just could not have the impact of a big man like BIll Russell. Look at Wade. He needed Shaq to win. Look at Kobe. He needed Shaq and later Gasol. Jordan needed Cartwright and Pippen. These days one man on the team cannot make the impact Russell did in the 1950s and 1960s.
Michael Jordan was to scoring like Bill Russell was to defense. You won't see this guy on any all-time scoring lists, but on every top ten list in NBA history. (Not to mention 5 MVPs and 11 rings, yikes! )
Let's not forget his Univ. Of San Francisco Dons set a then record of 55 consecutive wins. (eventually broken by UCLA teams in the 70's under J. Wooden) And brought home the Gold in the 1956 Olympics.
The 84' Olympic Dream Team of M. Johnson, L. Byrd, K. Malone, C. Barkley, J. Stockton, M. Jordan, etc. , we all know drubbed their opponents. But Russell's 56 Olympic team STILL holds the record for the largest scoring margin over opponents in men's Olympic basketball!
And he's not #1... ya gotta be kidding me! Nobody in ANY sport can match Russell for Championships.
Bill Russell now the main reason that Russell is on this list is because of his rebounding ability he is an amazing rebounder and he is only 6'10" he was one of the great players of the 20th century.
Bill Russell 5x NBA rebounding champion and 5x NBA Most Valuable Player he was NBA All-Star MVP and won more rings than anyone in NBA history with eleven rings he won 1 ring in 1967 and 10 in a row and he did that all in just 13 years he was an astounding player
Defense wins championships. No-one is, was or will be better than Bill Russell.
If you were to start a team, who better to take?
Bill russell is the definition of an all around basketball player. And this was prior to players even getting payed a lot, so he played with heart, not for a large check at the end of the week. Look at all the promotions now that strive players to be better. Bill Russell just wanted to win... No, wait, Bill Russell just wanted to DOMINATE!
No one was a better defender. No one was a better rebounder. No one was a better team player. No one was better than Bill Russell. If you think there was you are greatly mistaken. If you value frills and showmanship over quality, then yes, vote for Chamberlain, vote for Magic. Even Michael Jordan falls short for year in, year out dominance.
Russell was the games most valuable player (5 MVP's). Let's not forget the 11 championships in 13 years. Nobody was more dominant defensivley than Russell and if you are putting Pete Maravich ahead of Russell because of Maravich's college career, you have to remember Russell has 2 NCAA National Championships, while Maravich had ZERO!!!
I have him as second best BB player because he played defense and won many championships!
Russell was the best ever, hands down. He dominated Chamberlain in most of their matchups. He played superior defense and was the ultimate team basketball player. To have players like Alan Iverson and Lebron James above Bill Russell is absolutely ludicrous.
Bill Russell is the only player that has also been the head coach of the team at the same time. How did that turn out? Just like the rest of his career, with championships. He also could be considered the greatest leader in professional sports history...
Michael Jordan 6 rings. 5 on one hand 1 on another.
Bill Russell 11 rings. both hands full. need a extra finger to fit his 11th.
which would you rather have 6 rings or 11? hm I say 11.
Bill Russell greatest to ever play the game!
How is this guy not #1? He's a basketball god. Try winning 11 championships in a career. Most team don't win 11 championships in their history. If blocks were recorded back when he played he would be #1
Bill Russell holds the record for the most NBA championships won with 11 titles during his 13-year playing career. He won practically every year he payed. How could he not be number 1?
If you voted for anyone else, you don't know the meaning of winner. His competion was intense, most of his career he played only against the top 8 teams in the league! Jordon played against 30!
He is the best rebounder of all time. He is way better than Wilt Chamberlain he won like 10 championships and Wilt only won 1. Most people who voted here only know one basketball player; MJ.
I guess most people who voted here never saw Russell played, nor know anything about the game of basketball. Bottom line is Russell is by far the best ever period.
Bill Russell is behing AI, Pistol Pete, and LeBron. This list is no good. Russell had 11 championships in 13 years, and should have 12 if he hadn't gotten injured one year
11 rings and 5 MVP awards in thirteen seasons. Not a great scorer, but he was a great rebounder and a great passer. He was also the greatest defensive player of all time.
This list is all jacked up. It should be like this
1. Bill Russell
2. Michael Jordan
3. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
5. Oscar Robertson
The NBA Players themselves say it's all in the number of Championships won... And Russel has the most period.
He is the greatest of all time.
No one revolutionized any sport like Bill did with Basketball. Number one for all time. Just look at the Championships under his reign.
As a lifelong Laker fan and a witness to the facts. I have to agree with booklover1. Russell was the biggest thorn in Wilts career.
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