Bill Russell, the greatest player in Boston Celtics history and maybe NBA history takes Kendrick Perkins to task for his comment.
It was funny to see the all-time greatest winning player in the history of team sports and arguably the all-time greatest basketball player in history, Bill Russell take a former Boston Celtics player to task over a comment he made.
Evidently, Kendrick Perkins, a good former Celtics center and an emerging star in the world of NBA commentary made a statement that the great Bill Russell, shall we say, disagreed with.
“In ’56 I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead,” Russell reminded Perkins. While a student at the University of San Francisco, Russell competed in several track and field events, excelling in the 400 meters and the high jump.
Well, that was enough for Perkins, “Perk” to Boston Celtics fans, to, as they say, “beat a healthy retreat” and evidently retract his statement.
Perkins reacted to Russell with a new realization: He agreed.
Well I’ve been checked by an All-Time Great so sorry @KingJames I’ve had a change of heart….@RealBillRussell is the Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!! My apologies @RealBillRussell 🤣👊🏾🙌🏾💪🏾 https://t.co/6JogEGmUgG
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) June 17, 2020
I have to say this, you have to love Bill Russell. This man is the embodiment of a competitor. He’s one of the two best basketball players maybe to ever grace the planet. But the beauty of Russell, the player was his unequaled and unceremonious lack of self in his game.
Russell was the consummate “team player”. Right, so that means, he was a good player who wasn’t all that selfish, blah, blah, blah. Nope. Not at all. This is what it means.
Bill Russell was so good a player, so amazing a talent that he didn’t have to show it off every play. He was satisfied to let his teammates excel, as well. But don’t let the stats fool you.
Russell averaged 15.1 points per game during his 13-year NBA career. Pedestrian numbers you may say. Maybe. But if Bill Russell wanted to score 30 or 40 points per game, he could have.
That’s how great he was. He’d just have to have demanded the ball. He didn’t. But he also averaged 4.3 assists. That stat would be respectable for a point guard in today’s NBA.
And, if you want to talk statistics, how about this one. Bill Russell averaged 22.45 rebounds per game during his NBA career. Let’s put that statistic into perspective.
The only player in NBA history who had a higher percentage was Wilt Chamberlain, at 22.89. And Chamberlain had about a 4-inch height advantage over Russell.
And a further stat, in my view the greatest rebounding forward in the history of the NBA, Dennis Rodman, averaged only 13.2 rebounds per game. Now, Rodman wasn’t the greatest rebounding forward statistically, but in my view, he was the greatest. Period.
So, here’s my overarching point, Bill Russell as a player was only interested in one thing, winning. And he did that. All the time. He won 11 championships in 13 seasons. No one in team sports in the USA that I know of ever did better.
All he was after were wins and championships. And he got them. And, yes, he was also a tremendous athlete, Perk.