As if the GOAT debate in basketball wasn’t enough, Tom Brady and his seven Super Bowl titles has reignited the conversation about which athletes have a claim to the throne regardless of the sport. Names like Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, etc. all join the likes of Brady and Michael Jordan when we talk about the most transcendent sports figures in history.
Inevitably, there are names that get overlooked in these discussions. Once you start cutting a wide enough swath, the criteria gets murkier and murkier, and before you know it, the conversation has been knocked completely off its axis and sent spiraling into the cosmos.
Thankfully, Bill Russell has come to bring us all back down to Earth with a simple yet profound photo. After a fan tweeted a pic of Brady and Jordan showing off their rings — along with the caption that only the two of them belong at the table — Russell responded with the iconic photo of himself wearing all 11 of the championships rings he won with the Celtics.
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) February 12, 2021
It’s quite the mic-drop, and just another reason to love Bill Russell, regardless of how you feel about the GOAT debate. Critics are quick to point out that Russell played in an era when the level of skill and athleticism couldn’t even begin to match what we see today and a league that was much smaller and less competitive. Still, none of that should diminish his incredible accomplishments during his career, and Russell himself certainly isn’t about to let us forget.