Sorry, LeBron. Bill Russell Makes a Compelling Argument As to Why He's the Greatest Athlete in NBA History

Illustration for article titled Sorry, LeBron. Bill Russell Makes a Compelling Argument As to Why Hes the Greatest Athlete in NBA History

LeBron James is a freak of nature.

He might not crack Paul Pierce’s top 5 of all-time, but as I explained before at this very site:

“Never in the history of the NBA have we seen a player with Karl Malone’s size, Michael Jordan’s athleticism and explosiveness, Kobe’s guile and Magic Johnson’s otherworldly passing ability all crammed into the same DNA strand. This nigga is a literal cheat code who Skynet sent from the future to destroy the hopes and dreams of opposing teams and NBA coaches.”

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As such, it’s not exactly surprising that King James receives heavy consideration when the topic of the most athletic player in NBA history comes up.

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This debate has sparked renewed interest as of late, and to the surprise of no one, former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins is on Team LeBron.

“Most Athletic Plater in NBA History!!!” he tweeted.

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But perhaps tired of the all too familiar stereotype that today’s players are vastly superior to their predecessors, NBA great Bill Russell was kind enough to set Perkins aside for an impromptu history lesson.

“In [1956] I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead [because] we could only play one sport then. Track and Field News ranked me #7 high jumper in the world, I was ranked #2 in the US @ the time,” he tweeted. “In addition to my leaping ability, I was also somewhat known as an outstanding sprinter.”

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To emphasize his point, Russell was even kind enough to include a vintage clip of him hauling ass down the court, jumping from damn near the free-throw line and hurdling over some poor white dude for a layup.

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I’d say that’s a pretty good argument and Perkins was left with no choice but to agree.

“Well I’ve been checked by an All-Time Great so sorry @KingJames I’ve had a change of heart,” he tweeted. “@RealBillRussell is the Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!!”

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Russell Westbrook is another player who’s put jaws on the floor plenty of times, but as others have noted, are we really gonna sit here and pretend like Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t out here doing the damn thing too?

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Aside from a 4.6 timed 40-yard dash, Wilt also boasted a nasty 48-inch vertical and could bench press an equally astonishing 500 pounds.

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“What about Wilt Chamberlain?” NBA analyst Chris Broussard asked on Fox Sports 1's First Things First. “I mean, Russell could’ve made the Olympics. That’s pretty hard to beat. But Wilt Chamberlain with his size, he was a track star at Kansas. I probably would go with Wilt.”

Me too, but I sure as hell ain’t about to tell Russell that.

Just don’t let those old school Chuck Taylors fool you, because some of the biggest names from yesteryear got just as busy as our favorite players today.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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DISCUSSION

Bill Russell. GOAT.

When Bill played Wilt, Bill won.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1991-12-01-9104180690-story.html