Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Russell: LeBron Belongs on Mt. Shushmore


Bill Russell is a NBA MVP Champion. LeBron James is a NBA MVP Champion. Both don No. 6 on their respective teams. The similarities end there.

Bill Russell is a dapper young man, and at the age of 80, still schooling these youngsters on how to act.

During Sunday night’s NBA All-Star game, Craig Sager reported LeBron and Mr. Russell had a little heart-to-heart before the game in reference to LeBron’s controversial “Mt. Rushmore.”

“Thank you for leaving me off your Mt. Rushmore,” Russell said to LeBron, “I’m really glad you did.  Basketball is a team game; it’s not for individual honors. I won back-to-back state championships in high school, back-to-back NCAA championships in college. I won a NBA championship my first year in the league, a NBA championship my last year in the league, and nine in between. And that, Mr. James, is etched in stone.”

Now don’t get me wrong, LeBron James is already one of the best players in NBA history. The past few seasons he has been undoubtedly the best player in the NBA. Love him or hate him, cheer for the Miami Heat or against them. Even if your basketball knowledge is that of a sea cucumber, you’re very aware of LeBron James’ existence. King James is no stranger to telling people the relevance of his presence in the NBA. Even if he only has your ear for one second, he might even mention this in passing.

Bill Russell never had to.

Along with the previously mentioned championships, Mr. Russell was named to 12 All-Star teams, won 5 MVP awards, was the NBA rebounding champion 4 times, and was a Player Coach his last two seasons, both of which he won championships. He coached the team he played on, and won a championship, twice! He was a gold medalist in the 1956 Olympics. A true champion. The only thing he never did was proclaim himself as one of the 4 best players ever.

From LeBron’s antics with the hour-long “The Decision” aired on ESPN years ago, to all this un-provoked Mt. Rushmore talk, his arrogance will be the difference between his reputation being really good and GREAT. Great players don’t have to tell people how great they are, they just are. Legends don’t have to demand respect, it’s just given. If LeBron realized this long ago, maybe he could have won in Cleveland, the team was obviously talented; they were in the finals in 2007. Instead he had to jump ship, head to Miami, and surround himself with multiple All-Stars before he could finally win.

Stop talking LeBron. Everyone knows you’re good, and will admit it (except Kevin Durant), so shut up. Just play. Solidify your legacy by proving it on the court, not jockin for media coverage. Perhaps I feel the way I do because of Houston’s humble history. Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell never had to toot their own horn. Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon hardly spoke English, much less bragged on himself. Earl Campbell is as genuine as it gets, and he was a monster. And I like it that way.  I can honestly say I hope the Rockets never show interest in acquiring LeBron in the future. I don’t care how good he is, I’ll pass. Then again like most men, I can be bought. If he was on the same team as James Harden and Dwight Howard, I could see myself being persuaded to root for him (modesty is key).

It would be unfair to assume Bill Russell was trying to “show up” LeBron, he probably meant no disrespect at all. But I’m glad he said what he did. It couldn’t have come from a better, more credentialed person, than 11-time NBA Champion Bill Russell. Someone truly worthy of being on a basketball “Mt. Rushmore.”

 

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Follow Julian Perez: @wewosux

Tags: Bill Russell LeBron James NBA

  • Aaron Norman

    Good read senor…. I agree with all of it. You failed to mention, the greatest PF of all time, Tim Duncan, has done all of his work without needing a spotlight. Class acts are the true legends.

    • A1S

      lmfao Tim Duncan greatest of all time. Must be a Spurs fan or something..

      • Aaron Norman

        Name a better PF sir….

        • A1S

          What position do you consider LeBron?

          • Aaron Norman

            SF…. and your point?

          • A1S

            My point is, LeBron can play the 1, 2, 3, 4, or the 5. In comparing Duncan to LeBron purely as PF’s, anyone in their right mind will tell you Duncan’s great but he’s no LBJ.

          • Hush Pearson

            you got that wrong A1s i liked lebron but he’s not a better player, teammate and definetly not a better PF than tim duncan albeit he does have a way higher ceiling and much more talent it comes down to the fact that tim duncan is a true TEAMMATE, PLAYER COACH and the best big man to play in the last decade or more

          • A1S

            You’re a Knicks fan lmfaooo ’nuff said

  • A1S

    You did fail to mention that LeBron was asked by a reporter who he’d have on his Mt. Rushmore, and simply responded to the question. Other than the “decision” (which he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities in doing that event) when has he ever begged for attention like you say?? The Cavs made it to the finals in 2007 because of him and only him. There was NO talent on that team besides him. He made Mo Williams into an all-star and made the Cavs into a contender all on his own. How much more evidence do you need when the season he leaves they immediately become the worst team in the league? You sir can continue to root for your beloved Houston teams, and only dream of LeBron playing for your Rockets, meanwhile he’ll be winning championships down in South Beach over and over again

    • Aaron Norman

      lmfao must be a bandwagon Miami Heat fan that never existed prior to Bron Bron… where you buy your Heat t-shirt from?

      • A1S

        Wonder if you’ll still be a Spurs fan in another year when your old decrepit “big 3″ are long gone. It’s ok for all you Spurs fans to hop on the Heat bandwagon now, knowing that you won’t be winning anything again anytime soon

        • Aaron Norman

          Yes sir, I will still be a die hard fan. Ever since the disgusting pink paint splash logo. The big 3 will soon be gone, you are correct, but as long as Pop (one of the greatest coaches ever, by the way) is still around, the downtime will not last long. The Heat are done when Lebron leaves. Wade is a grandpa, Bosh just sucks.. Good luck getting past the Pacers this year.. you’ll need it bad!

          • A1S

            Good for you. Some of the smaller market teams need more fans like you. Unfortunately for the rest of the teams in the NBA LeBron’s staying, Wade always manages to shine when he needs to, and what sucks about a guy that averages 20 and 8 every night? Keep on hating, and they’ll keep on winning. “By the way” your guy Pop, is good but ever heard of a guy named Pat Riley??

        • Hush Pearson

          i kinda agree with Aaron on this most of you heat fans are bandwagon fans who don’t even know who Alonzo mourning was to the heat. I’m a Knicks fan by the way and WE have the most loyal fan base, to the point some of us get a little beyond ourselves when we do good but the point is MOST of you heat fans are just big three fans who know nothing about the HEAT at all

    • Julian Perez

      By refusing to do the dunk competition year after year, LeBron is begging for attention. By only releasing sick dunks recorded on a cellphone camera at practice, after approving them for release, LeBron is begging for attention. And most recently, by deeming himself a “Man of the People,” LeBron is begging for attention. You said he was asked about Mt. Rushmore, who asked him to be a “Man of the People”? Why won’t he dunk, is he afraid he’ll lose in front of the whole country? You can have him Sir, though I wouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch, the Pacers are legit. Indiana gave LeBron and Co. all he can handle last season, and that was before DWade was 1000 years old…

      • wintertimesoldier

        Are you a writer for real because what you wrote is insane. Lebron is one of the most efficient players ever to play and his stats prove so, there is no way you can be selfish being the most efficient. Please name a team that has won a championship with less than two hall of famers? Who gets criticized for answering a question? you act like he just came out and said it. I think BEING IN the dunk contest is more about self than not being in it, you just sound ignorant sir. And why is Lebron not as good of teammate as Tim Duncan?

        • Julian Perez

          Where did I say anything about him being selfish? I said he was an attention whore, who likes to bang his own drum, toot his own horn, proclaim how great he is to anyone that will listen. I never said he was selfish. I didn’t write the Duncan comment, but he does none of those things, which is why Duncan is a true champion.

          • wintertimesoldier

            So lebron isn’t a true champion because he has a different personality than Tim Duncan? He hasn’t worked as hard as Timmy? I love Timmy and I have him top 10 all time but to say Bron isn’t a true champ is crazy…so he hasn’t earned a championship is what you’re saying? He’s gone 4 times, high school champ, Olympic champion…what are you saying sir? Toot his own horn? Dude, he was asked a question and answered it, what was he supposed to do in your wise opinion?

          • Julian Perez

            I’m not sure. I wonder what another all-time great champion would say if they were asked something similar???

            http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/hakeem-olajuwon-includes-mj-lebron-all-time-starting-five

          • wintertimesoldier

            So because his shoes are expensive, that makes him not a great hooper or it makes him a bad person? Stephen Marbury sold his shoes for $20, so that makes him great? To answer your questions…i can see MJ saying what Bron said, Sir Charles, Wilt…you act like the people you named are saints…so lebron wants children to die? Wtf dude? Nike doesn’t have any responsibility? Brons shoes go for 200…a pair of Jordan’s have been sold for thousands…come on man

    • marcusdoesurmom

      Let’s get down to the brass tax here. LeBron left Cleveland due to the fact that, Delonte West was sleeping with his mom.

      • Julian Perez

        That, and he knew he couldn’t win without surrounding himself with elites….not even 1, not even 2, not even 3, not even 4…..

        • marcusdoesurmom

          The Spurs comment was on point. Tim Duncan truly is one of the best power forwards ever to play the game. If the Spurs have taught us anything, is that basketball is a team sport.

          • Julian Perez

            As much as I dislike them, I can’t disagree. I’ll be happy when the REAL big 3 in SA go fishing permanently…

        • A1S

          Julian Perez how in the world do write for a website?!? First off what are you even talking about? He can’t win with 4 elites? According to the previous comments wade is “1000 years old and bosh sucks” yet the Heat have won back to back rings. So something isn’t lining up here. Either LeBron is doing it all on his own or is he relying on all the other “elites”. As for your ridiculous comment about wanting all the attention by holding out of the dunk contest, you ever think he would like some of the other up and comers to have the spotlight for once, so he allows others to compete in it? Also, what team in the last 30 years has won championships without having multiple big names/stars? He’s got them in Miami and that’s why they’ll continue to win. You, Julian, of all people should know it takes multiple stars to win much in pro sports. Being that your rockets have done well in bringing in star players and still sucking. Dwight Howard, James harden, and Jeremy Lin all acquired via free agency or trade and yet you guys still complain about LeBron?! Bron teamed up with a couple of close friends that have been planning it for years and they run the NBA and now everyone has to hate. Isn’t it the name of the game to acquire all the best players you can in order to win? Give Riley credit along with the rest of the heat organization, including LeBron, and enjoy your average Houston market. Everyone in the league is either attempting to model their team like Miami has, or solely to beat them. So wake up Julian and write some articles that make you at least sound halfway intelligent. Have fun watching the Heat win again and again and again

          • Julian Perez

            I said the ONLY way he CAN win is surrounding himself with elites, he couldn’t do it in Cleveland with a good team. And the Rockets still sucking? Houston is the hottest team in the NBA right now. Check your facts. Also, thanks for reading!

          • A1S

            I know what you said, but apparently you don’t. You did say that he needs to surround himself with “elites”, but you also said Wade is 1000 years old and Bosh sucks so make up your mind, are they elite or do they suck? He never had a good team in Cleveland NEVER. Let me know when the Rockets do something worthwhile… in the postseason. Only the scrubby teams care about 7-8 game win streaks in the regular season. I’ll become intrigued when they string together a 20+ game win streak. Just another thing LeBron and company accomplished. Houston hottest team in regular season congrats Julian. Hottest team last couple years I’d still go with the defending champs down in Miami. Check your facts on who’s elite and who isn’t, do some research, learn a little basketball, maybe go write about the other top notch organizations in Houston, and last but not least enjoy writing about the King well into baseball season in H town b/c those Heat will be three peating this year while everyone else is at home watching! Also, thanks for reading!

          • Julian Perez

            Houston and Co. already did it. The Rockets won 22 straight in 2008, if you want to talk streaks, 3rd longest in NBA history behind LA and Miami (27 for Miami, if you didn’t know). Let’s not get too crazy and remember that LeBron owes that second ring of his to Ray Allen. Without Allen (another all-star), the Heat lose in 6 last year. LeBron didn’t want that shot, and would have bricked it had he taken it. Even bandwagon heat fans will admit he’s not clutch. Anyway, great banter. This is exactly why I write for a sports website!

          • A1S

            Give credit to where credit is due. LeBron is a champion end of story. Keep hating and saying he’s not clutch when he takes his team to 4 straight finals. (Which has only been done 2 other times in NBA history, if you didn’t know). This is exactly why I read these articles, to educate writers like yourself about the game of basketball.

          • Julian Perez

            What were you saying?

      • A1S

        Hahaha that could be the underlying reason behind it all