By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been a big week for debates and discussions about the “greatest of all time,” aka the GOAT. With Tom Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl, the sports shows have done some Michael Jordan vs. Brady debates, with a sprinkling of some LeBron James mixed in there. (Indiana believing the GOAT is Peyton Manning and Wisconsin believing it’s Aaron Rodgers, well, that’s just adorable.)
It’s all fair. Winning seven Super Bowls is rather difficult. Nobody else has ever won more than four. And only two other quarterbacks have even done that. Likewise, winning three straight NBA titles, then taking a quick baseball sabbatical and returning to win three more titles? It’s challenging. Much respect to both Brady and Jordan. They’re pretty good.
But the most glaring omission from all of these discussions remains Bill Russell. The Celtics, NBA, and civil rights icon is a living legend. Friday marks his 87th birthday, and before blowing out the candles, the 11-time champ sent out a tweet to try to remind the world of what the most prolific winner looks like.
You know … the man has a point.
While those of us who are too young to have ever watched him play cannot know his game inside and out, the resume speaks for itself. And it speaks quite loudly.
Russell won 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons. He was named MVP of the league five times, and he was a 12-time All-Star. Prior to joining the NBA, he won two NCAA national championships with the University of San Francisco, and he won an Olympic gold medal in 1956.
And he was a player-coach for his final two NBA titles.
You might say he was the greatest.
He’s also indisputably the GBOO87COAT. (The Greatest Blower Outer Of 87 Candles Of All Time. Duh.)
Whew, I made it to 87! I want to thank my wife for another amazing cake & the small forest fire upon it. Thanks @SKJR40 for standing by with the extinguisher just in case, next time bring a cpr kit. @legends_unite #Deepbreath #fridaymorning @BleacherReport @NBA @espn @celtics pic.twitter.com/TscoGkRhxv
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) February 12, 2021
Of course, these debates don’t take place in order for a clear and obvious winner to be universally agreed upon. Comparing a basketball player from the ’50s and ’60s with a basketball player from the ’80s and ’90s (the 2000s portion of MJ’s career never existed, you imagined that, move on), and then comparing them to a football player, it’s not exactly an exercise in science.
It’s more of a conversation than it is a situation where one unequivocal “GOAT” is determined. As such, yes Mr. Russell, you must always be included in that discussion. We all collectively apologize for getting ahead of ourselves this week. Sometimes we younger folks need a gentle reminder from our elders. So thank you. That’s our bad.
This content was originally published here.