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Bill Russell Wasn't Too Impressed With Dennis Rodman's Rebounding Abilities In 1996: "He's Adequate... To Compare Him With Wilt And Me Is, Well, In Error."

Bill Russell Wasn't Too Impressed With Dennis Rodman's Rebounding Abilities In 1996: "He's Adequate... To Compare Him With Wilt And Me Is, Well, In Error."

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were gods in the 60s, Russell and his Celtics dominated the league, winning 8 championships in a row while Chamberlain owns a lot of the most ridiculous statistical records in the history of the league. Russell was a defensive beast while Wilt was ridiculous on offense, but the one thing both were nearly peerless in was rebounding. 

Russell averaged 22.5 boards per game for his entire career while Wilt averaged 22.9, and the two are comfortably clear at the top of the NBA's all-time rebounding charts, having pulled in over 20,000 boards each. So when either spoke about rebounding, it was something people paid attention to, and in 1996, Russell gave his take on the then-best rebounder in the game, an undersized player by the name of Dennis Rodman (via The Washington Post). 

The inevitable question arose: What did Russell, the best rebounder in history, think of Dennis Rodman, the best modern-day rebounder? "Well, he's certainly an entertainer," Russell said. Uh, Bill, how about as a rebounder? "He's adequate. . . . To compare him with Wilt and me is, well, in error."

Despite being just 6'7, Rodman averaged 13.1 rebounds for his career, including a 7-season stretch that saw him average 16.7 rebounds per game and help the Bulls to their 2nd threepeat. While his raw numbers may not stack up against Russell or Chamberlain, the fact that he did that while being significantly smaller is a huge credit to the greatness of 'The Worm'. 

Players from older generations are often criticized for belittling the achievements of modern greats, and it's interesting to see that this has always been the case in the history of basketball. This take from Russell is similar to the sort of things people like Charles Oakley have said about Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, and it's a part of NBA culture that would be best left behind.