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Friday, May 24th, 2013 at 9:20 am  |  19 responses

Phil Jackson Would Start a Team With Bill Russell Over Michael Jordan


MJ may be the G.O.A.T., but his former coach wouldn’t pick him first if he was starting a hypothetical NBA franchise. Phil Jackson says Bill Russell would be his first choice. Per Time (via SI): “In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell. He has won 11 championships as a player,’ Jackson said. ‘That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.’ [...] Jackson dodged when asked to select between Jordan and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, whom he coached to five titles between 2000 and 2010. ‘I would flip a coin,’ he said. ‘Whichever one came up heads or tails, I’d take that person. They were that good.’”

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  • playa

    MJ response to this:

  • i_ball

    Really, flip a coin between MJ and Kobe?

  • michael jordan

    i would pick my self

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    told yall Bill was the G.O.A.T.

  • chyea

    Phil was candid about Bill. He wasn’t so much about the MJ and Kobe question, probably cause he’s tired of hearing it over and over and over through the years.

  • Rockwell

    Comparing Russell and Jordan is kind of pointless because they were different types of players who played in different eras. Besides, Phil, of all people should know that the greatness of a player shouldn’t be judged on championships alone. Even though Russell was a legend, he couldn’t have won all those rings without help from other HOFers like Cousy and Havlicek. Same for Jordan, who couldn’t have won six rings without Pippen and Rodman. I have a feeling Phil is trying to stir sh*t up because he misses being in the spotlight. Isn’t he angling for a front office/ coaching gig while trying to peddle yet another book?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • Patricia Christopher

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  • bike

    Makes sense. Russell was an extremely intelligent player – a true scholar of the game. He spent as much time studying, analyzing, and visualizing the game as he did on the physical aspects. He was a genius.

  • bringbackthesonics

    great article

  • dannyb

    I would also flip a coin. If it came up heads I would pick Jordan, if it came up tails I would pick Jordan.

  • robb

    I can’t disagree but the 11 rings justification is a lazy one. Would he include Robert Horry too?

  • Junior Taylor

    Give me KAJ over any other guy. A lot of people underrated KAJ because his prime spanned the 70s when Final games were shown on tape delay.

  • The Seed

    A must read, good article.

  • The Seed

    Russell competition was not the same, I have lost some respect about Phil. He is losing it. Somebody needs to get him a day job.

  • Caboose

    And there’s a reason no one believed you.

  • Spetsnaz

    Yeah really hard choice………like deciding between a lambo and corvette. Both do similar things but one does it sooooooooooooooooooo much better.

  • http://twitter.com/sage80_rocker Steve Golac

    ummm…did you think that Mj may NOT be the GOAT? That seems to be what Phil is saying. Quite buying the Nike hype.

  • http://twitter.com/sage80_rocker Steve Golac

    I bet you’ve watched lots of games from that era to make that evaluation.

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