Welcome back to the "Greatest Ever' series as we continue with the articles from the NBA History, and this time, i will be talking about the career of Bill Russell.

Bill Russell was arguably the greatest player to ever step foot on a basketball hardwood. If anyone's greatness shouldn't be measured solely by statistics, it's Russell alright. His real dominance was on the court as most of his peers have nothing but positive words and praise for him, which is rightfully deserved. He did things that aren't matched, and no one else will duplicate. His success was beyond amazing, but unfortunately not many understand that.

First of all, he was a phenomenal athlete. He was a track star, and great in the field too. He represented his college in many athletic competitions which proves his natural abilities. He was an athletic freak, who was one of the most quickest centers ever, he possessed the quickest leap of them all and had a high jump. On top of that, he had long arms which gave him a superb length that he combined with his intelligence.

Speaking of it, he was the most smartest man to put on a jersey number in all sports history. It made him to separate from the others in order to succeed. Even months before being part of any action in the most competitive basketball competition, Bill spent hours of analyzing the game, places where each player wanted to get his shot off and so on. It only helped him to establish himself as a superb presence in the post, alerting and swatting shots like no one else has ever done.

He often played mind games, and got his opponents rhythm usually late in the game which made them unable to make a difference as Bill's team would go on and win the match. He found a bunch of ways to stop his opponents, rather than using strength. He often got the best of his arch rival Wilt, a man whose overall production decreased when he faced Russell. Even he was slowed down to games which weren't to his standards, especially in the second part of their head to head duels.

He never played him with strength. Instead he relied on what he had against him. Intelligence, quickness, skills, instincts and forced him off his favorite positions, contested his attempts etc.

This leads me to another part of this sport in which he excelled, and that was defense. That's right. He was arguably the top defender in the NBA History. He came in a league and team that had no idea of defense, yet he changed all of that. He revolutionized defensive concepts and proved to be a superstar with dominating the other side of the court. He was such a natural force in his own paint, who was the best shot blocker, arguably finest rebounder, most elite presence, excelled in one on one match ups and alerted attempts.

He turned shot blocking into an art form. He built the fundamentals of the blocked shots, and mastered three things for successfully doing it. Those were:perfect timing (quick reactions), position (had good spot) and not fouling the shooter. Again, he had that vertical jump and long arms to help him. He was also capable to take 3-4 guys on side on the court, then get on the other side, get the rebound and threw outlet pass.

His high IQ helped him as well. He changed the course of a single match without even scoring a point. His defense often created fast brake chances for the Celtics, which had their powerful fast brake as a strong weapon in beating their opponents. After the play, Bill would threw a perfect outlet to his team mates for easy points or just pass it to Cousy who'd lead everyone to easy buckets. Again, all of that and he didn't even need to shot.

Critics usually point out his weak career percentage of 44.0% from field as a reason why he was a bad scorer. Wrong. Even though he was never a good scorer in the regular season, it was totally different in the playoffs and finals. He improved it and even took over in late moments offensively in order to win. Yes, he had no weaknesses at all in the clutch. To illustrate that, he holds the record for the highest shooting percent in Finals History with 70.2% field goal percent. Yes, he had games with 10/11 shooting for 23 points and so on.

He could set great picks that lead to scoring, had a decent post up game that featured a great lefty sky hook, ability to clean from tips in, terrific passing abilities and was the original alley op finisher. Even when Jerry Lucas was All-Star Game with 25 points, he said that BR helped him to get clean looks with his passing. Even in his 30/40 game, Russell had 13 out of 17 from the line easily. He seemed to have no real weaknesses.

Also his ability to share the rock was pretty much notable for a big man, who's regarded as one of the best passers of all time. Since Bob Cousy left, he averaged well over five, to nearly six assists in average in an era which had different ways to count dimes. Because Boston had no real point guard, the ball went to Russ who could deliver it around and spotted nearly everything. He was needed to be a good passer since no one in his team could play well one on one.

He was the biggest winner of any time. He was an eleven time champion, who was 18-0 when facing elimination, 10-0 in all Game 7 of the post season and was consistently among the finest teams in his time. He was outstanding clutch player as well, who's underrated in that department.

Here are the stats from Russell's performances in all of the Game Sevens Of The Playoffs

-19 points, 31 rebounds

-18 points, 32 rebounds

-22 points, 35 rebounds

-19 points, 22 rebounds

-30 points, 40 rebounds

-20 points, 24 rebounds

-15 points, 29 rebounds

-25 points, 32 rebounds

-12 points, 26 rebounds

-6 points, 21 rebounds

Overall average:18.6 points, 29.3 rebounds

Amazing, isn't it? It sure is, however rarely know that. The aspects in which he made his impact like blocks, steals weren't even official when he was active. However, not even they will show the real picture. All, i am saying is that he was a legend and that he'd been an all time great in any era.

He was a fearless competitor, most driven basketball and smartest basketball player who was also the best defender, shot blocker, leader and winner of them all. His greatness shouldn't be questioned!

By Darko Mihajlovski


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