Bill Russell Shows up Kendrick Perkins for Tweet About LeBron James Being Best Athlete Ever
Recency bias is a funny thing in the NBA. When discussing the greatest to ever do it, fans and players alike are far more likely to cite recent examples instead of athletes who played decades ago. Thankfully, plenty of those greats, including Bill Russell, are still around to remind us just how dominant they were.
On Monday, former NBA big man and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins took to Twitter to share some footage of young LeBron James soaring through the air. Perkins retweeted the clip with the caption “Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!!”, which Bill Russell replied to brilliantly.
In 56 I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead we could only play one sport then. Track and Field News ranked me #7 high jumper in the world, I was ranked #2 in the US @ the time. @celtics @NBA pic.twitter.com/6FqZjiMlhG— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 17, 2020
Bill Russell is often left out of the GOAT discussion, especially by younger fans, since it’s been so long since his heyday. He may be 86 years old now, but he dominated the NBA from 1956-1969, taking home a record 11 NBA championships and five MVP trophies during his time with the Boston Celtics.
In addition to my leaping ability, I was also an somewhat known as an outstanding sprinter. And some people may remember this : https://t.co/Am6UN7xdOT— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 17, 2020
Just because Russell played in a time in which footage was relatively sparse and in grainy black and white doesn’t mean his highlights aren’t eye-popping to watch. In a time before flashy plays became commonplace, Russell literally jumped over an opponent from the free throw line for an easy finger-roll. It’s one of the most mind-boggling plays imaginable, but rarely gets discussed today.
Tuesday night, Perkins replied to Russell’s response and gave him his due props.
Well I’ve been checked by an All-Time Great so sorry @KingJames I’ve had a change of heart….@RealBillRussell is the Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!! My apologies @RealBillRussell 🤣👊🏾🙌🏾💪🏾 https://t.co/6JogEGmUgG— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) June 17, 2020
It may be hard even for professional basketball players to remember greatness that happened over 50 years ago, but perhaps we should all take this time off from basketball to go back and watch clips of the great athletes who played before we were around. Bill Russell wants some respect put on his name, and he definitely deserves it.