In this great bit of YouTube video, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan discuss who is the greatest player of all time.
In the early part of this clip, Bill Walton is recounting a meeting between Wilt and Michael where Wilt had the final word in a way Jordan could not challenge. We saw a picture once with Chamberlain doing his absolute best to intimidate Jordan and it worked - in that picture Jordan refused to meet his stare.
The picture at about 1:04 here is as close as we’ve seen to that one.
The funny thing though is that in this video, Chamberlain and Russelll both agree on who the greatest player is and it’s not Jordan.
Chamberlain celebrates his own talent while admitting that Russell was the better center because he helped his team to win more.
Russell built on that by saying that he pointed out to Jordan that there were only 80 jobs in the NBA in his day and that guys like John Paxson would never have made a roster, much less hit a series-winning shot because he “would have been in the stands.”
Both guys apparently pretty thoroughly schooled Jordan, Chamberlain with his traditional intimidation and Russell with his brilliant idiosyncratic logic.
For his part, Jordan was diplomatic and pointed out that they played in different eras and so couldn’t easily be compared but that he, Kobe, Tim Duncan and other greats from today could probably have hung with their elders.
He’s right of course. They’re all right in their own way which makes it really fun.
Despite what Walton said, Russell had the last word, picking himself because his teams almost always won the last game of the season.