Re: Is Brady vs Manning the greatest sports rivalry ever?
posted at 7/25/2010 11:29 PM EDT
Wow, I am surprised. Bird vs magic was great and surely one of the best rivalries most of us can remember seeing. However.....
Bill Russel won 11 NBA championships. He accomplished this in a time when Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain was the greatest basketball player( and possibly athlete) to ever play competitive sports. Wilt was dominate. He destroyed everybody he played against. Everybody that is except Bill Russel.
Bill and Wilt played each other...are you ready for this...142 times aside from exhibition games in the 10 years they played against each other.
I am biased towards Russel, however Wilt averaged OMG 28.7 points and 28.7 rebounds against Russel. Bill averaged 14.5 points 23.7 rebounds.
Russel won 85 times to Wilts 57. You can argue Russel played on the better teams but Wilt played on some darn good teams as well. As shown below.
A trump card for Russel is that during the 10 year highly competitive battle Bill won NINE CHAMPIONSHIPS to Wilts ONE.
Now in comparison to much of the above mentioned rivalries these two gentlemen guarded each other every time they play on the same court. Unlike Brady vs Manning and even Bird vs Magic.
A quote from an article below sums up the monstrous rivalry between the 2 best men in the sport.
"Russell would never go there. He had, and has, nothing but the utmost respect for Wilt Chamberlain, who impressed him from the get-go.
"After I played him for the first time," Russell says, "I said, 'Let's see. He's four or five inches taller. He's 40 or 50 pounds heavier. His vertical leap is at least as good as mine. He can get up and down the floor as well as I can. And he's smart. The real problem with all this is that I have to show up!"
His appreciation grew with each passing year. By 1962, the third year of their rivalry, their teams would meet for the Eastern Conference championship. Wilt was pluperfectly monstrous that season, averaging a record 50.4 points per game. The series went seven games, with Russell and friends able to keep the Big Dipper under some kind of control. (In 12 playoff games that year, Wilt averaged 35 points and 27 rebounds.) A Sam Jones jumper with two seconds remaining won the seventh game by a 109-107 score, and Russell (19 points and 26 rebounds a game) immediately requested to be left alone for awhile.
"I haven't had any sleep all week," he said. "Every time I went out on the court, that guy seemed to grow a little taller."
Also just to defend Russel this quote below shows the fact that both players had tremendous players on the teams they played for. Yet still Russel won NINE championships to this monsters 1
"here always was a larger context in the Russell-Wilt rivalry. They did not play in a vacuum. Russell once played on a team with seven future Hall of Famers, not including himself. Wilt, at various times, played with Nate Thurmond
, Paul Arizin
, Billy Cunningham
, Tom Gola
, Hal Greer
, Jerry West
and Elgin Baylor
, who are all in the Hall of Fame
, not to mention Chet Walker
and Guy Rodgers
, who could be."
IMO this is the greatest rivalry in all of sports.