Yesterday the Golden State Warriors Closed out their 3rd NBA title in four years decisively sweeping away LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This has prompted quite a bit of “Greatest Team of all Time” talk and without question this team is to this point the most dominant of the 21st century Lebron James comparing them to the New England Patriots is quite apt.
But for those of you who are buying into the “greatest team of all time business” let me provide you to this link to the stats page of a fellow named Russell who was known to play a little basketball in my youth.
If you scroll town to the “playoff section you will note that next to Mr. Russell you will note that there are little gold rings next to 11 of the 13 seasons listed.
Now if we concede that there are more playoff rounds in the current era (even while ignoring that fewer teams means less dilution of talent) and penalize Mr. Russell’s Celtics have of those titles we still find they have 2 1/2 more rings that the current Golden State team.
When they get those two rings, then call me back and we’ll talk.
Furthermore for those who are saying Lebron James is the greatest player of all time, a perfectly reasonable argument if you’ve ever seen him play, particularly when we consider that he’s apparently been playing this year’s finals with a broken hand, you might also note that while his own stats are loaded, in his 13 years he has played so far, 12 of them as an all star he has in 8 trips to the NBA finals come out with a ring 3 times.
Mr. Russell also played 13 years, 12 of them as an all star and during that time went to 12 NBA championships winning 11 the final two as Player coach!
Now I think you can make a very fair argument for James as the greatest of all time, just as you can for Michael Jordan and for Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who for some reason never in included in this conversation despite winning the first of his six rings at the age of 23 two years after Russell last (1970-71) and his last at the age of 40 in the 1987-1988 season when a 24 year old Michael Jordan was in his fourth year three years removed from the first of his six tiles.
But to dismiss Bill Russell from that conversation, a man who not only went 12/13 in going to the finals and 11/12 at winning them but also won two titles while coaching the team as well, that’s just nonsense.