Are Bill Russell's championships overrated?

Updated: May 19, 2020

Bill Russell is one of the best players of All-time. Russell played his entire career for the Celtics from 1956-1969. He had a massive impact on the game of basketball. He won MVP five times and was named an All-Star 12 times. Russell was the first Black coach in NBA history and the first to ever win a championship.

But, when people look at Russell's accomplishments what really stands out is his championships. He won 11 championships in his career, the most in NBA history, and won eight consecutive championships from 1959 to 1966.  

Yet, when you look back at that era, it does not seem that impressive.

From 1957 to 1961 there were only eight teams in the NBA. From 1962 to 1966 there were only nine teams in the NBA. In 1967 there were 10 teams in the NBA. In 1968 there were 12 teams, and in 1969 there were 14 teams. In 1969 Bill Russell retired.  

During the Celtics dominant eight consecutive championships there were only one-third the amount of teams in the NBA as there are today.  This means that there was less competition for the championship and easier for the Celtics to win year after year.

Also, during the time that Russell played, the Celtics had over 10 Hall of Famers on their team (not including Russell): Some of the big ones include Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek.

That is five percent of all the Hall of Famers just on that team. A super-team is a term used to describe modern day teams with multiple All-Stars.

The Celtics were the Superman of super-teams.

Because of Bill Russell's championships some put him in the discussion of the G.O.A.T. Bill Russell was a great player and a defensive machine. 

However, when looking back at the era and how good the Celtics were it seemed inevitable for them to win every year.

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