Chris Bosh had some interesting things to say about Bill Russell and his era, where he won 11 championships in 13 years. The Boston Celtics legend absolutely dominated the league during the 50s and 60s, becoming the highest winner of all time.
Bosh, another big man, recently joined JJ Redick's 'The Old Man and the Three' podcast to discuss various topics. Talking about former teammate LeBron James and his GOAT status, Chris explained that it is hard to put different players, from different eras, in the same box (1:02:00).
“I don’t even compare it, to be honest,” Bosh said, via Sports Casting. “It’s impossible to put them together and I think it’s disrespectful to Magic, Kareem, Kobe, and Bill Russell. So it’s like, ‘Who’s the greatest ever, one or boom?'”
Talking about Russell, Bosh mentions that the center did a lot on and off the court and deserves his own category.
“I just pull Bill in his own stratosphere,” Bosh said to Redick. “This dude won a championship as a coach and then he’s leading the sports civil rights movement. Put him over here … greatest [philanthropist], I don’t know, but put him in his own stratosphere.”
Yet, here is the trick. The free agent and the 2x NBA champion agreed that Bill had an easier path to the championship, playing fewer games against fewer rivals, which played a role in his 11 titles.
“I do just want to point out that for some of those championships, there were like eight teams in the entire NBA,” Redick said. “Some of those championships he only had to win two rounds in the playoffs.”
“And, you know, you’re playing against firefighters,” Bosh responded. “You know, dudes had jobs in the summertime. Dude’s going to be a lifeguard, go work on construction after the NBA season. They had part-time jobs, they went [during] summertime and got a job, bro.”
This argument looks a lot like the one plenty of fans make against Michael Jordan. This time, though, Bosh talks about firefighters, while people against MJ say he played against plumbers.
Still, you need to beat difficult rivals to win the championship, and that's what Russell did. Of course, that era was different, but nobody can take anything away from Bill. He became one of the best athletes of the last century, collecting 11 rings in 13 years, something unthinkable in modern-day NBA.