Reasons Why Bill Russell Is Better Than Wilt Chamberlain?

Richard TanzilContributor IJanuary 13, 2010

No it's not all about rings....


Bill Russell: 5MVP's,11 rings
Wilt Chamberlain: 4MVP's, 2 rings (and only one against Russell, during Russell's rookie year as playercoach)

Russ is better than Wilt.

First, in 1972, when Wilt submerged himself into a Russell-like role - low scoring, outlet rebounding and defensively focused game - in the Lakers, under the guidance of Bill Sharman, Russell's former Celtic teammate, his team went on a 33 game winning streak with a 69-12 season record, enroute to the championship. In retrospect, Russell's unflashy style of play is more effective in bringing in the hardware than Wilt's.

Second, despite of Wilt's impressive talents, the man is a PAIN to work with. These explains why his former teams like the Warriors and 76ers was willing to trade him for LESSER talents, just to get rid of him. Russ has a much better attitude and despite of his aloof manner in public and private life, he exudes a sense of camarederie whenever he steps into the court or inside the locker room.

Some of Wilt negative attributes which could be traced to his primadonna personality includes:

- disrespecting and criticizing his coaches publicly (eg. Neil Johnston, Alex Hannum, Dolph Schayes, and of course Bill Van Breda Kolff all had bad memories working with Wilt.)

- demanding a high salary (eg. One third of the Warriors gate receipts goes to Wilt's salary but Wilt doesnt even want to do publicity gigs to boost ticket sales)

- complains like a baby to the media (eg. threatening to quit but not carrying it out)

- rarely practice and travels with his teammates (eg. Wilt had had feuds with Baylor and Hal Greer).

If i was a coach in real life, i would dread the idea of bringing Wilt Chamberlain on my team. Hell, Alex Hannum had to challenge Wilt in a fight just to get his respect. Ask yourself what kind of a basketball player would push his coach to such lengths just to earn the player's respect. Its not worth it having him on the team unless his talents are programmed in an android devoid of his personality.
The problem with Wilt is that he played with TALENTED teammates, he just doesnt gel well with his teams w/c is why their performance are not commensurate of their talents.

If Russ was with Paul Azirin, Tom Gola and Guy Rodgers in Wilt's Philly Warriors, they would be Final contenders if not champions. Azirin is a sharpshooting genius like Sharman and Rodgers while not as flashy as Cousy, is sorely underrated as a passer and is a very fast ballhandler. Gola is a more offensively talented version of Celtic defensive specialist Satch Sanders.

If Russ was with the Frisco Warriors, he and Nate Thurmond would form a two headed monster that would be the scourge of everybody else in the League. Although for the first couple of years,i dont think they would win the hardware but once Rick Barry comes on board the team would be unbeatable.

If Russ was with Wilt's LA Lakers and Syracuse Nationals/ Philadelphia 76ers team, no question, they would WIN rings, lotsa rings. These teams are LOADED with talents.

West and Baylor's LA are capable of pushing the Celtics to 7 games, while Greer and Walker's Nationals/76ers could beat Wilt and the Warriors on their own, even w/o HoF Billy Cunningham. Putting in Russ (and theoretically, Wilt) on those teams would be overkill.

On the flipside, if Wilt with his gargantuan ego intact was playing in the Celtics, he would have quarreled right off the bat with that confrontational, authoritarian ba$tard Red Auerbach. Red would trade him the first chance he got. Assuming that Wilt did stick around, the dynasty Celtics live and die with the fastbreak. Red's gameplan is unchangeable. They are not going to wait for Wilt to come down the floor and score. They just just need him to get them the ball like Russell. The Wilt Chamberlain as we know it today - the guy who once averaged 50pts and has seven scoring titles - would not exist. He would get his rings alright but he would be pigeonholed playing Russell's game in the Celtics