Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson continues to do the rounds while promoting his new book, Eleven Rings, and was recently asked which player he’d start with when picking his dream team of all-time greats.
Most believe Jackson would likely go with Michael Jordan or maybe even Kobe Bryant, but the 11-time NBA champion surprisingly went in a different direction choosing to go with NBA legend Bill Russell via ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell. He has won 11 championships as a player,” Jackson said in an interview with Time. “That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.”
Although Jordan is arguably the greatest NBA player of all-time and Kobe has accomplished enough to put himself in the debate, Jackson going with Russell over both players makes sense to a certain degree.
Obviously, Russell was a product of his era and a pioneer along with former Laker Wilt Chamberlain in terms of bringing an entirely different dynamic to the game of basketball. Despite that being the case, 11 championships in 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics as a player and player-coach is undeniably the most dominant stretch by a player in the history of the league.
There’s no doubt debate will go on about whether or not Russell would truly be the right choice over other Lakers outside of Wilt and Kobe like Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but in terms of championship no one touches Russell with 11 titles. With Jackson stating that championships was the deciding fact and the mark of excellence, Russell trumps all with all the players mentioned above only have as accomplished in that category.
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