The success Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan had together is well-documented, to say the least. You would assume that if given the opportunity, Jackson would take Jordan to start his franchise, given all of their aforementioned success. However, you know what they say about assuming…
In an interview with Time Magazine, Jackson instead says he would take Celtics legend Bill Russell over Jordan if given the choice:
“In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell. He has won 11 championships as a player,” Jackson said in an interview with Time. “That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.”
The championship argument is sort of a cop-out. If that is your only criteria, Robert Horry is better than Kobe Bryant, which is obviously not the case. On the other hand, there is no way you can minimize how amazing Russell’s run was with legendary coach Red Auerbach. Jackson was a bit more politically correct when asked a similar question in regards to Jordan, and the other player Jackson is most commonly linked to, Kobe Bryant:
“I would flip a coin,” he said. “Whichever one came up heads or tails, I’d take that person. They were that good.”
A part of me believes strongly Jackson is purposefully making these types of statements for the mere purpose of promoting his new book, but that’s his prerogative, and probably a wise one at that. I am way too young to give an educated opinion on Bill Russell’s game, so I am biased towards Jordan naturally, but that by no means says Russell is the wrong answer. This often happens with these types of debates; people think that there is only one answer to an opinionated debate.
Russell or Jordan, I think you’d be fine either way, but then again, that’s just my assumption.
By: Frank Santos