Tom Brady and the Boston Sports Pantheon

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mgteich

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If Russell weren't on those teams, how many of the 8 would have been hall of famers. Russell was the best defensive player to EVER play the game and player who made hall of famers out of the rest of his team.

People talk as if Russell was simply lucky to play with such greatness. The reality is that Russell was the difference maker.

Ok, that's a reasonable opinion. But my original Chamberlain comment was in reference to someone saying that essentially it's a no-brainer that Russell was the greatest center of all time. That *may* be the case, and you make a good one, but it very easily could *not* be the case. Those Celtics teams were SO loaded that it had to take another loaded team to beat them. Eight hall of famers on one roster? Are you kidding me?
 
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Trocadile

On the Roster
Ok, that's a reasonable opinion. But my original Chamberlain comment was in reference to someone saying that essentially it's a no-brainer that Russell was the greatest center of all time. That *may* be the case, and you make a good one, but it very easily could *not* be the case. Those Celtics teams were SO loaded that it had to take another loaded team to beat them. Eight hall of famers on one roster? Are you kidding me?

Look, I loved Sam Jones - he was my favorite Celtic of the era and I spent hours practicing my banked jump shot because of him - but he's not a Hall of Famer without Russell. Many of those guys are in the Hall of Fame because they won a bunch of titles, and they don't win those titles without Russell.

One of the hardest things to quantify in sports is the effect a single basketball player (usually a big man) can have on team defense. We saw it recently with the Celtics when Garnett came - they went from being a poor defensive team to being a great one - because he made everybody play better defense. Russell did that on all his teams and the stats will never fully explain why, but you know it when you see it.
 

SeauOUCH

On the Game Day Roster
It's Bobby Orr, then a debate for who's number two between Brady, Russell, Bird, Williams and Marciano.


A couple names that deserve to be mentioned, considering who else was nominated in the original list:

Marvelous Marvin Hagler - if boxing wasn't so corrupt and he had better management he would have been champion several years before he finally got his shot. And even though cowardly Sugar Ray Leonard avoided him until he was well past his prime, I'm still convinced Hagler won that fight. Leonard showed his true colors by stalling and making excuses for a rematch for two more years before Hagler finally gave up and quit.

YouTube: Hagler-Hearns - Greatest Fight Ever

Bill Rodgers - if you're going to include Joan Benoit Samuelson then you have to include Rodgers, perhaps the greatest marathon runner ever. Instrumental in popularizing the sport.

Johnny Kelley - since we're including marathon runners, the list would be incomplete without this legend.

Harry Agannis - the two-sport star whose career was tragically cut short just as he was entering his prime.

I'm glad someone gave props to Hagler, he was my favorite boxer growing up, that dude was indestructible. :rocker: ( I too think he got robbed in the SRL fight :mad: )
 

shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
PatsFans.com Supporter
Right. I already said that. Chamberlain's dominance in almost every way is reflected in the stats, not just overall stats, but head-to-head, and in basketball, unlike some other sports, these guys actually matched up against each other, guarding each other. Chamberlain's dominance over Russell is well-documented.

BUT....Russell's dominance over Chamberlain is in the category of *WINS* and *TITLES*. Which, as I've said, is a huge thing, and I am convinced that Russell's team-first approach was a big part of that. So I'm giving him credit. But his teams were significantly better than Wilt's...it's like you're giving Russell sole credit for those 11 championships. Look at the guys from the 50's and 60's that were on those Celtics teams that are in the Hall of Fame:

Bob Cousy
Tom Heinson
Bailey Howell
Ed Macauley
KC Jones
Sam Jones
Frank Ramsey
Bill Russell
Bill Sharman
Andy Phillip
Arnie Risen
John Havlicek

Wilt's Lakers and 76ers had serious talent (West, Baylor, etc.), but never in history has there been such a collection of talent. Yes, I know these guys above didn't all play together, but a LOT of them did.

The Celtics won as a TEAM, not because Bill Russell was individually better than Wilt Chamberlain.

EDIT: Just for example, look at the 62-63 Celtics. They had *SEVEN* guys on that team that would make the HOF as players: Russell, Cousy, Heinson, Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, and Ramsey. Plus, they had Tom Sanders, who averaged 10.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg that year, and who eventually made the HOF as a "contributor" (whatever that means...but I didn't count him as one of those HOF guys earlier). But still - SEVEN hall of famers on that roster. Out of 13 guys. Not seven good players. Not seven all-star caliber players. Seven hall of famers.

DOUBLE EDIT: I forgot: Clyde Lovellette was also on that 62-63 team, and HE was also a HOFer. That makes *8* guys on that team that would end up in the HOF. I can't imagine something like that today. Certainly Chamberlain never had anything like that.

Talk about how great those Celtic teams were all you want. The simple truth is this:

The Dynasty lasted from 1956-1969. What coincided with that timeline?

Look at the 1967-68 and 1968-69 teams that he was player/coach for. (PLAYER/COACH for crying out loud!!!)

Sorry, NOT the most talented team in the NBA those two years.

THAT accomplishment on it's own - - not to mention, he was the FIRST BLACK HEAD COACH in any of the 4 major American sports and he won championships in both of his first 2 years - - is simply off the charts.

Any comparison of Bird or Wilt to Russell is laughably ignorant.

P.S. Easy Ed Macauley, Andy Phillip and Arnie Risen never played on any team with Bill Russell. That's like saying Tom Brady had Ben Coates and Curtis Martin on his offense.
 
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shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
PatsFans.com Supporter
Russell played with great players, and their cohesion was a tribute to Red.. but if you talk with anyone in that day and age, Bill is always considered the best of the two.

To take that even further:

The Great Coach Red Auerbach won 11 NBA Championships in 17 years with the Boston Celtics. Not one without Bill Russell.

Bill Russell won 1 Olympic Gold Medal, 2 NCAA Championships and 2 NBA Championships without Red Auerbach.
 
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shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
PatsFans.com Supporter
Ok, that's a reasonable opinion. But my original Chamberlain comment was in reference to someone saying that essentially it's a no-brainer that Russell was the greatest center of all time. That *may* be the case, and you make a good one, but it very easily could *not* be the case. Those Celtics teams were SO loaded that it had to take another loaded team to beat them. Eight hall of famers on one roster? Are you kidding me?

Google "1968 and 1969 NBA Championship Series" and get back to me about how much greater the talent was on the Celtics than on the Lakers.
 

Texxx

Practice Squad Player
If Russell weren't on those teams, how many of the 8 would have been hall of famers. Russell was the best defensive player to EVER play the game and player who made hall of famers out of the rest of his team.

People talk as if Russell was simply lucky to play with such greatness. The reality is that Russell was the difference maker.

Russell also played in an era with a ton of smaller and less athletic guys that would have been loan officers in this day and age. He was a giant amongst a lot of guys that didn't have the ability to fly through the air and dunk like crazy or make all sorts of creative shots like the players of the last 20 years. I'm personally a lot more impressed with what Larry Bird did being a white guy who didn't have near the athleticism that many of his peers did, but played with so much heart, tenacity, and court brilliance that he was able to over achieve with the skill set that he had when in comparison to so many other top players around the league. Bird was simply a gamer. He had that killer instinct to win and over come despite being a slower white guy that didn't have the types of athletic abilities like guys like MJ, Dr. J, Magic, Clyde the Glyde, and so many other top stars from that era. Bird just found ways to get it done and to "lead" his team and hold his teammates accountable. The guy's fierce competitiveness made him an over achiever.

Russel and Wilt had such huge advantages over their competition and it wasn't even close. They didn't play in an era where SG's and PG's could fly through the air and snag rebounds from them and stuff like that. It was like watching a man play with boys from a physical standpoint.

I'd put Bird over Russell personally.
 

Patsfanin Philly

Pro Bowl Player
NFW

Russell took on Chamberlain and won championship after championship. Owned the boards. Did what it took to win. Greatest Boston champion of all time.


Russell won two championships in colleges, one in the Olympics and 11 in 13 years in the pros. nobody, and I mean nobody in the history of professional team sports comes close...
 
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Deus Irae

PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club
PatsFans.com Supporter
Boston's been blessed, arguably being able to say:

Best basketball player ever: Russell
Best baseball player ever: Ruth
Best hockey player ever: Orr
Best NFL QB ever: Brady

Even New York, the city that can buy almost anything, can't match that.
 

shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
PatsFans.com Supporter
Russell also played in an era with a ton of smaller and less athletic guys that would have been loan officers in this day and age. He was a giant amongst a lot of guys that didn't have the ability to fly through the air and dunk like crazy or make all sorts of creative shots like the players of the last 20 years. I'm personally a lot more impressed with what Larry Bird did being a white guy who didn't have near the athleticism that many of his peers did, but played with so much heart, tenacity, and court brilliance that he was able to over achieve with the skill set that he had when in comparison to so many other top players around the league. Bird was simply a gamer. He had that killer instinct to win and over come despite being a slower white guy that didn't have the types of athletic abilities like guys like MJ, Dr. J, Magic, Clyde the Glyde, and so many other top stars from that era. Bird just found ways to get it done and to "lead" his team and hold his teammates accountable. The guy's fierce competitiveness made him an over achiever.

Russel and Wilt had such huge advantages over their competition and it wasn't even close. They didn't play in an era where SG's and PG's could fly through the air and snag rebounds from them and stuff like that. It was like watching a man play with boys from a physical standpoint.

I'd put Bird over Russell personally.

Russell 6'8 and 1/2"

Wilt 7' 0"

Anymore?

Russell was no taller than the average NBA center during his era. In fact, he was right at average height for Centers when he came in in 1956 and below average height for Centers in 1969. So your "height" argument is completely baseless.

Russell was a LEGIT part of an Olympic gold medal team (Bird was along for the ride '92 with his chiropractor), won 2 NCAA's (Bird didn't) and won 2 NBA Championships as a coach (Bird came close once).

He also did it in racially charged Boston during the Civil Rights era and actually helped change Boston's culture.

Bird actually mowed his own lawn in Newton, which was pretty cool.

Please. Your argument is embarrassing.
 
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Jackson 2

PatsFans.com Supporter
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Russell also played in an era with a ton of smaller and less athletic guys that would have been loan officers in this day and age. He was a giant amongst a lot of guys that didn't have the ability to fly through the air and dunk like crazy or make all sorts of creative shots like the players of the last 20 years. I'm personally a lot more impressed with what Larry Bird did being a white guy who didn't have near the athleticism that many of his peers did, but played with so much heart, tenacity, and court brilliance that he was able to over achieve with the skill set that he had when in comparison to so many other top players around the league. Bird was simply a gamer. He had that killer instinct to win and over come despite being a slower white guy that didn't have the types of athletic abilities like guys like MJ, Dr. J, Magic, Clyde the Glyde, and so many other top stars from that era. Bird just found ways to get it done and to "lead" his team and hold his teammates accountable. The guy's fierce competitiveness made him an over achiever.

Russel and Wilt had such huge advantages over their competition and it wasn't even close. They didn't play in an era where SG's and PG's could fly through the air and snag rebounds from them and stuff like that. It was like watching a man play with boys from a physical standpoint.

I'd put Bird over Russell personally.
I'm going to guess you really didn't mean to describe Russell as a physical "giant" compared with his peers. Some of the premier centers in the NBA during the '60s were Wilt at 7'1", Nate Thurmond and Walt Bellamy both at 6'11". You're correct about Bird's greatness and his killer instinct, in particular, and he's my favorite player ever. But, no player in any sport has ever had more of a killer instinct than Bill Russell. No one.
 

condon84

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Boston's been blessed, arguably being able to say:

Best basketball player ever: Russell
Best baseball player ever: Ruth
Best hockey player ever: Orr
Best NFL QB ever: Brady

Even New York, the city that can buy almost anything, can't match that.

The only thing New York really can fall back on are those 27 championships by the Yankees.

Best sports anti-New York rant: Bill Burr: The State of New York Sports Rant - YouTube
 

Deus Irae

PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club
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The only thing New York really can fall back on are those 27 championships by the Yankees.

Best sports anti-New York rant: Bill Burr: The State of New York Sports Rant - YouTube

That's huge, no doubt. But here we were talking about individual players. When it comes to Pro titles, Boston is 2nd behind New York. That's still not bad, especially when you consider that the difference is those damned Yankees....
 
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condon84

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
That's huge, no doubt. But here we were talking about individual players. When it comes to Pro titles, Boston is 2nd behind New York. That's still not bad, especially when you consider that the difference is those damned Yankees....

Yeah, outside of the Yankee players, I can't think of individual players besides Lawrence Taylor that are considered all-time greats.
 

Jackson 2

PatsFans.com Supporter
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Looking at each player and how they rank all time within their sport.....

1) Orr will be rememembered as the 2nd greatest hockey player of all time behind Gretzky.
2) Williams....Top 5 hitter but will always be behind Ruth, Mays as GOAT
3) Russell....being the best defender of all time is amazing, but scorers get remembered
4) Brady...Brady will own many records, but a more athletic QB, Montana, will always overshadow Brady. Unfortunately for Tom, his best football has come after his last SB ring
5) Bird...The legend of Larry is powerful, but too many great athletes in NBA history to place Larry near the very top.

Ranking on how these 5 impacted their teams

1) Russell....the ultimate winner
2) Bird....the peak of his career = 3 championships
3) Orr... his peak was too short, but spectacular
4) Brady....Major component of three rings, but didn't carry those teams
5) Williams....being great doesn't always translate to wins in baseball

My personal favorites ranking

1) Orr....his length of the ice charges were epic. I still want to be Bobby Orr
2) Bird...Greatest spectator experience ever..the way the crowd reacted when Bird had the ball...unlike anything I have ever seen or heard.. I have never had more faith in an athlete to deliver.
3) Brady......the responsibility on his shoulders......massive....yet he handles it with ease and delivers. One cool customer
4) Russell....only seen the highlights....total commitment/all in. I know I would have loved the guy. Question....why does Ted Williams get a tunnel but the greatest winner in Boston history is an afterthought??? I secretly know the answer.......and it's a shame
5) Williams.......I went to a golf outing about a dozen years ago for Dan Farber. It was a who's who of former great Boston stars ( no Bird and only white guys that day, unfortunately). Orr, Havlicek, Yaz, ...many more (Otto Graham also).....but when Ted Williams arrived, the world stopped. Even the athletes went nuts to have a moment with Ted. Quite a sight.
It's obvious you put a great deal of thought into this, but I have to question one point: describing Ted Williams as a top 5 hitter is a little under-rating. Most "experts" (whatever that means) consider Ted the greatest hitter of all time. Not the greatest player, but the greatest hitter.
 

captain insano

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
larry bird. he was and is a legend in every sense of the word.
if i was starting a team he would be my first pick before magic and jordan.
those are the three greatest bball players to ever play imho. im not old enough to have seen russel play. so i cant rate him.
 
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Patspsycho

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I think when all is said and done, Brady will be treated as royalty around here. I'd say probably a notch above Bird.

When he starts his political career, he would be wise to run for office here.
 

captain insano

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I think when all is said and done, Brady will be treated as royalty around here. I'd say probably a notch above Bird.

When he starts his political career, he would be wise to run for office here.

brady is up there but hes third at best. hes far to Hollywood to be has beloved as larry legend. larry was and is a everyday mans man. blue collar hard working sob.
 

Patspsycho

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
brady is up there but hes third at best. hes far to Hollywood to be has beloved as larry legend. larry was and is a everyday mans man. blue collar hard working sob.


Now, I'm not questioning Bird's work ethic or dedication once he was on the court, but once he was off it, he was off it. He ate wedding cakes in the offseason. Brady doesn't even drink red wine. He doesn't take any time off in terms of diet and staying in shape, and remaining committed to football.
 
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