ThaRegul8r wrote:Nice strawman. And evidently you missed that Sharman and Cousy were among those who were in the Hall before 1980. You also conveniently fail to address the fact that—aside from Havlicek, who as I said, was a bona fide Hall of Famer and went in on the first ballot—the majority of the '60s Celtics in the Hall didn't make it until after Russell was named GOAT. How do you explain this? Put emotion aside, and advance a rational argument to account for why these other players weren't HoFers for a decade or more, but somehow they improved their resumes to HoF status. And why—again, I reiterate, with the exception of Havlicek, who was an obvious first ballot HoFer—did most of the players from that team who are in the Hall not enter until after Russel was officially pronounced the Greatest Player in NBA History.
I didn't miss them, nor did I intentionally throw out a straw man. It's just that, isht, you've got three no-doubt Hall of Famers, plus a bunch of other guys who, if not first-ballot guys, were clearly top-flight players. How much more do you need? Even in an era where the talent was condensed this still stands out.
How do I explain Hall of Fame voting? Frankly, large gaps between induction and retirement don't seem all that unusual. Artis Gilmore and Dennis Rodman, both of whom are no-doubters in my mind, haven't gotten in, and Adrian Dantley only just did, 20-some years after retirement. You can make a decent case for guys like Jack Sikma and Kevin Johnson as well, and they'll probably never get in. In contrast, they seemingly bend over backwards to accommodate active coaches.
Instead of explaining that, I guess I'd counter by asking why anyone would be surprised that players like Sam Jones (five-time All-Star, 15,000 career points, hit numerous historic shots) and Tommy Heinsohn (six-time All-Star, 18.6 career ppg) would get in. In light of what they did individually and collectively, I think it's pretty obvious they deserved to get in.
And for the record, those are the guys I'm talking about, not the K.C. Joneses and Frank Ramseys of the world, although they were quality players as well. Even if you take very solid players like that out of the rotation, those teams were still
awesome -- and the Celtics usually needed everything they had as they rarely steam-rolled the competition.
And then, of course, there's the one guy that I have yet to see a single pro-Russell poster acknowledge -- Arnold "Red" Auerbach, one of the great innovators, coaches and personnel managers of all time. The same guy who had the foresight not only to project Russell into the pro game but to tell him that his scoring average would never, ever be a factor in contract discussions.
Of all the blessings Bill received during his career in terms of support, that was far and away the biggest, and I never see anyone acknowledge this. In contrast, clowns like Dolph Schayes and Butch Van Breda Kolff might have had him coming off the bench, or buckled under to owners who probably would have shipped him out because he wasn't scoring enough.
I don't bring any this up to knock Russell (too much) as I consider him among the top five players ever despite having a pretty substantial hole in his game. In terms of leadership, competitiveness, defense, rebounding and shot blocking, he was about as good as it gets. I'm going to vote for him this year, and at least four or five others.
But consider this -- in their head-to-head series, regular season and postseason, Wilt outscored and out-rebounded Russell every single time. Not most of the time. Every single one
, during 10 regular seasons and eight postseasons. Obviously, there's a hell of a lot more to the game than just these two areas, most of which Russell was masterful.
But what does this tell me? Russell was getting a lot of good, quality help to beat Wilt, and win championships, as often as he did. Certainly he was Reason No. 1. But there were more than enough others that I zero doubt that Bill was the most blessed player in NBA history.