Tom's not a slouch physically. But to the scouts at the combine, he was. Thank goodness for Belichick and Rehbein for looking at the actual football Tom played.I'm a person not from that era, not from the NE area, and just a casual fan of Basketball.
Due to what he had accomplished, I just assumed he had the size advantage over the opponents as a big center or power forward.
I would think most people like me have the belief that Russell is a giant at his position. I would bet 50 years from now, most future generations would automatically assume Tom Brady is an athletic freak.
Russell was physically gifted: He could jump, run, and pound it under the glass. What separated him is stamina, effort, intensity and most of all intelligence. Like Brady, Russell was always a student of the game, and never considered himself its master.
Many people choose not to accept Russ as the best because he wasn't a great shooter, wasn't physically amazing like the Doctor or MJ, and he wasn't flashy.
Denigration of his and the Celtics' success saying the competition wasn't as good, or that the style of play was inferior, or the smaller number of teams made it 'easier', or especially that the pressure was not as intense, is absurd.
But also people do not accept Russell personally. He was the nerdy, dorky younger brother who spent his teen years reading books in the library when his family moved to California. He was not the flashy high school athlete and he didn't have a girlfriend. With his friends he was silly and funny. Publicly he made it completely clear of his awareness and non-acceptance of White Supremacy. With the media he was self-deprecating, and you always got a huge laugh out of him instead of some haughty acknowledgement of his obvious greatness.