Bill Russell is the greatest winner in NBA history. 11 titles in 13 years. The Arabic numerals surrounded by Latin letters don’t lie. But to simply call Russell “the greatest winner in NBA history” actually downplays his role in the NBA’s history.
One can be a great winner by merely surveying the current landscape and using tried and true methods to traverse it. Bill Russell surveyed the basketball landscape but instead of doing the tried and true, he conceived of something new. He dared to control an entire basketball game through defense and rebounding.
To be sure, by 1956 there’d been many great rebounders and defenders in basketball’s history, but Russell revolutionized what it meant to be a great defender and rebounder. He blocked shots that previously were unblockable. He did so by combining a nearly unparalleled vertical leap with gazelle-like speed and a frightening psychological acumen.
He’d allow you…
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