Jay C. Brandriet
Bill Russell passed away at the age of 88 yesterday.
Most of us know him as a basketball icon.
The ultimate champion.
Kobe Bryant called Russell “the greatest winner sports has ever known.”
The face of superior defense.
Five time Most Valuable Player.
The art of the blocked shot.
Leadership. Sacrifice. Unselfishness.
A voice for change, and the highest possible good.
Why do a handful of others get more love in THE greatest player of all time debate?
Michael Jordan gets so much credit; he may be more popular today than 25 years ago.
LeBron’s merits have existed on a social media, 24/7 news cycle planet.
Kareem’s older days were spent on the showtime Lakers. The skyhook, and leading scorer of all time. On a lighter scale, Kareem gets his G.O.A.T. respect.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird receive the label of “saving the league.” Good enough.
The Kobe Bryant club is smaller, but they have bite.
Wilt Chamberlain has some footage out there. Still, being mysterious adds to his appeal. We know he was an all-world athlete. His numbers and records make him almost mythical.
Per spending SOME time in the modern NBA, Julius Erving almost gets more attention than Russell.
Visibility equals credibility.
RUSSELL’S DOMINATION GETS LOST
It goes beyond what we already know.
If we put Russell’s accomplishments in sync, with how we do things now?
He would easily have more Finals MVP’s than anyone in history.
A new room would be needed for his conference Finals awards.
He would have had a decade long run of being The Defensive Player of the Year.
In reality, he was an incredible olympian.
Bill delivered 2 titles in college, including 55 wins in a row.
How did he do in game sevens? 10-0! 29.3 rebounds per game.
WHY DOES HE GET LESS BACKING AS THE G.O.A.T.?
Is it because his Boston Celtics rosters were SO elite?
Not very many teams in the league?
Didn’t average enough points for your liking?
Maybe combined, those are micro factors.
The simple reason is, he played a long freaking time ago.
Russell was a rookie when “I Love Lucy” was the number one show on television.
He retired a few months before Woodstock.
Few of us caught a glimpse of him in real time.
We tend to connect with those we watched.
The quiet G.O.A.T., is simply a victim of timing.
Never saw him compete yet felt gutted when I heard.
I looked forward to hearing his infectious cackle.
The type of person, I would only address as “mister.”
Rest In Peace, Mr. Russell.
Jay C. Brandriet