Many fans consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest of all time. The Chicago Bulls legend was spectacularly successive during his career, especially in the 1990s. Jordan and the Bulls were dominant in the 1990s, winning 6 of the 10 NBA championships during the decade, including two three-peats.
Jordan's dominance was timeless, as we saw in his career. In fact, he is the only player in NBA history to score 50 points in three different decades. But there are people, mostly older fans, who say Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championships in 13 years, should be considered the greatest of all time.
They say that him winning almost double the NBA championships as Jordan should put him above MJ in the all-time standings. That is an argument that is heavily based on their championship wins, and not much else.
But what does Michael Jordan think about this argument? Well, he didn’t give a definitive answer. In an interview from a few years ago, Jordan was asked what he thinks about this debate. He said that the two players cannot be compared because they played in completely different eras (1:45 mark).
"I won 6 championships. Bill Russell won 11. Does that make Bill Russell better than me? Or make me better than him? No. Because we played at different eras. "
Jordan clearly doesn’t want to compare their accomplishments on paper, and there is more context required in order to properly compare their careers. Russell played in the NBA when the league was way smaller, and thus the competition was way less strenuous compared to Jordan’s era in the NBA.
Whereas Michael Jordan was a more undersized player during his career, and he had to play against players much bigger than him. So he had a much more arduous road and wasn’t able to dominate from the get-go like Russell was. Regardless of the comparisons, there is no denying the impact either Jordan or Russell have had on the NBA.