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The Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell Theory

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Michael Jordan is frequently believed to be the greatest player in NBA history by fans and writers alike. But I have made it obvious in the past that I disagree with most people’s view and I consider Wilt Chamberlain to be the greatest player in NBA history. I have already written a couple articles explaining why I believe so, but recently I have discovered something new that will hopefully open the eyes of the average NBA fan.

Click here to read “Jared White’s Top 10 Players in NBA History”

Click here to read “Michael Jordan Vs. Wilt Chamberlain”

Click here to read “Wilt Chamberlain: The Most Dominate Player in NBA History”

NBA fans mostly define a players’s career and overall impact by either their career statistics and records, or their utter success (Especially NBA Championships). Because of this common way of judging NBA players and their careers Michael Jordan should never be considered the greatest player in NBA history, but instead Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell.

Michael Jordan vs Wilt Chamberlain vs Bill Russell:

Accomplishments:

Michael Jordan: 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x NBA MVP, 14x NBA All-Star, 3x NBA All-Star Game MVP.

Wilt Chamberlain: 2x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP (Finals MVP was not handed out until after his first Championship), 4x NBA MVP, 13x NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP.

Bill Russell: 11x NBA Champion, 5x NBA MVP, (Finals MVP’s not recorded), 12x NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP.

Winner: Bill Russell

Scoring:

Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain both averaged a career 30.1 PPG while Bill Russell averaged a much less impressive 15.1 PPG. Michael Jordan has the most career points out of the three, but Wilt Chamberlain averaged the most points in a season (50.4 PPG).

Winner: Tie between Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan

Rebounding:

Bill Russell has a career total 21,620 rebounds, Wilt Chamberlain has a career total 23,924 rebounds (Most in NBA history), and Michael Jordan has a career total of 6,672 rebounds (Michael Jordan doesn’t nearly compete with either). With Wilt Chamberlain having a career average of 22.9 RPG as compared to Bill Russell’s 22.5 RPG he has a higher career average and a higher career total.

Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

Passing:

Between the three players Michael Jordan has the highest career APG average with 5.3 APG, but Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest passing center in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain averaged 4.4 APG over his career and was even an NBA assists leader in the 1967-68 season when he averaged 8.6 APG.

Winner: Tie between Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain

Blocking:

Blocks were not recorded until the 1973-74 season which is the season after Wilt Chamberlain retired. But a news archive, and game films reveal blocked shot data from 112 of Wilt’s 1305 NBA games. In his 112 games where blocked shot data was recorded Wilt Chamberlain averaged 8.8 BPG (The most official recorded BPG in a season is 5.56 BPG by Mark Eaton). But although Bill Russell’s blocked shot data was never recorded it is frequently believed that he average the same amount or more blocks than Wilt Chamberlain.

Winner: Tie between Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell

Michael Jordan has better career statistics (Especially 15 more PPG) than Bill Russell, but Bill Russell has 5 more NBA Championships.

Wilt Chamberlain has better career statistics (Especially 16.7 more RPG) than Michael Jordan, but Michael Jordan has 4 more NBA Championships.

It’s arrogant and close-minded to say that Michael Jordan is the greatest player in NBA history because Bill Russell has more Championships and worse stats than Michael Jordan while Michael Jordan has more championships and worse stats than Wilt Chamberlain.

If you believe that Championships and success are what make a player great then you should consider Bill Russell as the greatest player in NBA history, but if you believe that statistics are more important then you should consider Wilt Chamberlain the greatest player in NBA history.

 

About Emanuel Godina

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