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March 8, 2012

It was nice to hear all the nice things the great Bill Russell said about his rival Wilt Chamberlain as he narrated “Wilt 100,” a halfway decent piece about Wilt and his 100 point game. Russell and Chamberlain were friends, but for a long time did not speak to each other. Maybe that fact should have been noted along with a warning about the consequences of such actions. Of course it was not mentioned.

Alas, Russell was too modest concerning the incredible fact his teams won 11 titles in 13 seasons. Surely most years his teams were better than Chamberlain’s teams but that was not always the case. Yet only once in the 10 seasons they were in the league together did Wilt’s team win the Title. The other 9 titles went to Russell and the Celtics.

The right question in the eternal Russell vs Chamberlain argument was asked by Bob Costas at a 1997 event honoring the so called 50 greatest players in NBA history. He asked both men, seated together, how many times did Wilt have the better team and not win vs Russell and the Celtics in the playoffs? The question was asked once and not answered. I will give my opinion along with some more facts next week.


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