NBA 2K tribute to basketball legend

NBA 2K tribute to basketball legend

The news came foggy on Sunday July 31 as basketball lovers took advantage of the summer heat. Bill Russell died.

The Celtics center was without a doubt one of the five most important players in the history of the sport, an icon on the court but also on NBA 2Kwell-known face of the MyTeam mode. His greatness deserved at least this article. A look back at the life of this great gentleman, the rain of tributes and his alter-ego in the 2K game.

NBA 2K22 tribute to Bill Russell

© 2K

Evolving in the 60s in a single franchise, that of Boston, Bill Russell shared the status of absolute NBA boss with another legend, his rival Wilt Chamberlain. From his thirteen years as a player, he emerged with a status that no one has yet managed to deprive him of, that of the best defender in history. Admittedly, the game and its rules were not the same as they are today, but The Good Lord left such an impression on this sport that he is one of the very few who have modified the practice of it by force of circumstance, as he was strong and dominant. To the point where his opponents had to innovate to counter the wall he embodied. An exceptional defender, he was unplayable in the racket at a time when all the shots were under the hoop. Russell slammed counter on counter. In fact, on the counter-attack, faced with a pivot firmly planted in his racquet, many players found no other solution than to swing the ball from a distance, panicked in front of the colossus who was waiting for them straight ahead. That’s what they confessed, a little stupid, to journalists. From there was born in large part a practice dear to this sport, distance shooting and its spectacular side.

Basketball player Bill Russell performs a dunk in the NBA 2K20 video game.

Bill Russell to dunk on NBA 2K20

© 2K

Bill Russell also drastically changed the image of the importance of defense in this sport. At the time, we were mainly concerned about scoring, little about preventing the opponent from doing so, including for the giants. Mikan was an attacking ace, Wilt Chamberlain even more so, but their defensive ability didn’t matter. Bill Russell was signed by Red Auerbach for his ability to win possession, hoping to improve his attacking game. He didn’t even need it as his pivot turned the matches in favor of his team.

Russell was also known for never giving up on any game, even the unimportant ones in the regular season. His teammates said he vomited before each game as he put pressure on himself. In training, it was the same thing, he didn’t know how to play light, a real problem. Several Celtics have complained about it to the staff, which has given rise to delicious anecdotes about the stratagems used by the coaches to keep him away from the floor for as long as possible during training. It is said in particular that they came to serve him a very hot tea which he tasted on the bench, just to let his martyred colleagues breathe.

Bill Russell vs Wilt Chamberlain basketball players face off in NBA 2K22 game.

Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain

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This excellence and this talent paid off: in thirteen seasons, Bill Russell won eleven titles. A record. He is the only one in the league who cannot put a champion ring on each finger, giving rise to a cult photo taken everywhere, so precisely, when he died. Thanks to him, the Celtics dominated unchallenged for a decade, despite the presence of a genius like Chamberlain who only had two titles. Their rivalry is one of the most famous in the history of the sport, and it has very often turned to the advantage of the pivot of the Celtics, to the point where one can easily say that without him, Wilt, the man with 100 points in a game, would surely be the absolute legend of the sport alongside or ahead of Jordan. The two men were however very good friends, to the point where Bill Russell was the second person warned of the death of Chamberlain in 1999, as the icon of Los Angeles and San Francisco wished. Russell has, in fact, brought with him players with an incredible number of titles: Sam Jones 10 titles, Tom Heinsohn, KC Jones, Tom Sanders and John Havlicek 8 titles… A real legacy as we do more. Sad anecdote, several died recently, including Sam Jones in the last days of 2021 or Tom Heinsohn a few months before.

Basketball legend Bill Russell has an NBA75 card in the NBA 2K22 video game.

Bill Russell’s NBA75 card on NBA 2K22

© 2K

Russell’s record and stats make almost all NBA players pale: in addition to his 11 titles, he was eleven times in the standard team of the season, four times best rebounder, twelve times in the final (an absolute record), gold medal at the Olympic Games, present in all versions of the NBA All Time celebrating the best players in the league on key dates for her (her 25s, 35s, 50s, 75s), FIBA ​​Hall of Fame , sacred to the university. He finished twelve seasons with an average of rebounds above 19, an absolutely crazy figure. He is still today the second best rebounder in the entire NBA with 21,620 rebounds to his credit! All in less than 1000 games! Only Chamberlain did better, but mainly from the offensive rebound and in more games. But just imagine: only 36 players have scored more points in the NBA than Russell has taken in rebounds. 36 only!

Wilt Chamberlain's invincible 99 card on the NBA 2K21 game.

The great rival Wilt Chamberlain on NBA 2K21

© 2K

Another crazy fact: he won all the decisive matches of his career. In international competition or in the NBA, it’s a 100% win, with in particular ten games 7 in your pocket. He never got through a crucial game, ever. He also won 5 MVP titles, like Jordan (only Kareem did better) and an MVP title from All Star Game. In short, Bill Russell was a genius whose talent is ignored by many today, time having done its work.
Bill Russell's Invincible card in the MyTeam world of the NBA 2K22 video game.

The very beautiful Invincible card of Bill Russell on NBA 2K22

© 2K

His death was followed by an avalanche of tributes from the greatest of the sport, Michael Jordan in the lead. Barack Obama too, who had given him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. His liabilities on the floor are not the only reason. He was also a coach, the first black head coach in the NBA, with success since he won two titles. A very striking fact in an America still marked by segregation. He has also worked for the social rights of African-Americans all his life, supporting Muhammad Ali, being a member of Black Power and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. It must be said that he lived through some damn despicable things, such as the prohibition for black players to sleep in the same hotels as whites in the southern states, or being turned away from certain restaurants.

Spectators adored him in the hall and despised him, like so many other players, as soon as he left the stadium. Spectators that he did not hesitate to call hypocrites. What he went through, and his parents, marked him so hard. He therefore worked to make things happen in the NBA, like Oscar Robertson. While the league wanted to induct him into the Hall of Fame as the first black to have this honor, he long refused, believing that other older black players deserved it before him, and he did not give up. . It will be in 1977 after the induction of Chuck Cooper. It will be a second time in 2021 for his career as a coach. His public outings were often the occasion for tasty peaks. Bill Russell typed right and had a lot of humor, with that infectious smile. He will be so missed by the basketball world. Just to the planet.

Bill Russell has an Out of Position card on the NBA 2K20 game.

Bill Russell’s Out of Position Map in NBA 2K20

© 2K

On NBA 2K, Bill Russell is one of the players very present but relatively little played by lovers of MyTeam mode. He suffers from the same illness affecting huge league pivots, such as Pat Ewing, Artis Gilmore, George Mikan, Bob McAdoo, and some years even Wilt. They are preceded in the hierarchy by taller players with more formidable mechanics, but infinitely less good players really: Tacko Fall, Bol Bol and his father Manute, Kristaps Porzingis, even James Wiseman, ultimate pivot of NBA 2K20. Bill Russell’s Invincible card on 2K22 is one of the worst in this role unfortunately. But the Celtics legend has had far more enticing cards in recent years. One of them, on 2K20, could have an evolution on condition of scoring a certain number of three points, a comical wink at its questionable address, and an almost impossible challenge to meet. No doubt that would have made him laugh. 2K immediately put a tribute message when arriving on the game (before an end game gift card or a series of cards?), as they have already done for Kobe or Elgin Baylor. Decidedly, far too many big names in our league have left lately…

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