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Watch vintage Bill Russell leap player at free throw line (VIDEO)

Feb 26, 2013, 12:18 PM EDT

There’s a perception that today’s athletes are so much better than years past that it’s not a fair comparison. And in honesty, the average NBA player now is taller, faster and better conditioned than the players of eras gone by.

But if you think the elite players back in the day would fall short in today’s NBA, you are mistaken.

As proof, check out this vintage Bill Russell footage from when he played at the University of San Francisco, grabbing the rebound, leading the break, leaping over a guy at the free throw line, hanging in the air and making the lay-up. Tell me again how he wouldn’t fit in today’s NBA (more as a four than a five, but still)?

Great find by Red’s Army, which posted this first (it sense has started to pop up a few places).

  1. dadeyemi - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Love you guys, but it’s time to hire a copy editor

  2. southbeachtalent - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    WOW (and I’m not referring to Wade)!!!!!!!!!!!

    He looks like a ringer playing in some small college…

  3. captainwisdom88 - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    the rebound was nasty…and who knew old bill could put it on the floor like that

  4. louhudson23 - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Anyone who doesn’t believe that Bill Russell would be a dominating player in today’s league knows little about the league or Bill Russell.

    • zblott - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      Russell would be the best, and I’m not sure what’s getting in the way of people understanding this. Because he didn’t score a lot? Look at his point totals compared to his teammates most years (within a couple points of team lead, usually at a higher FG%), and that was a fastbreak team that started with him getting the defensive board or block, so he had far fewer chances. Plus he was the best passing big man of all-time. And he was measured as 6-feet-9 and 5/8 without shoes, which makes him taller than Dwight Howard and Alonzo Mourning. Dude was unreal and knew how to make his teammates better.

      • mydoghasfleez - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Wilt led the league in assists one year. Guess Bill wasn’t the best passer of all time that year.

  5. savvybynature - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Holy guacamole! Snatching the board, going coast to coast, the hang time, and the smooth finish. I had no idea he had those kinds of handles or that much speed! Just don’t see him in the open court like that as much from his NBA days.

  6. GT - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Greatest “Winner” in basketball history and really, it’s not even close.

    He and Wilt’s rebounding averages still amaze me, regardless of era.

  7. Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Bill Russell would dominate the boards and defensively in 2013.

  8. sasquash20 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    If Wilt or Russel came along today they would be the most dominating players ever seen. They didn’t know half of what we know today about the human body and how to take great care of it. If they did they would have been that much more amazing. Wilt used to drink soda to hydrate. Imagine players today doing that. The training and knowledge has come so far from when they played. Wilt and Russel 1a & 1b all time in my book.

    • mogogo1 - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      You’re 100% correct. Wilt was an absolute physical freak–there’s stories of him messing around during playground games and touching the top of the backboard. You look at him in his younger days and he’s so skinny. He’d have started his career with bare minimum of 30 extra pounds of pure muscle if he came along today. He’d have all the power of Shaq only with way more game.

  9. kb2408 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    If Russell played today he’d be a taller version of Dennis Rodman but slightly better offensively. He was a center, rarely shot the ball five feet away from the rim, but shot 44% on fg’s for his CAREER. It’s not like he played in a golden age for centers either. If a guard is shooting that same percentage, he’s a decent shooter. But a center?! And someone tell me what was Russell’s patented go to move. I don’t recall him having one. We get blinded by his rings. However, the truth is he played on a team full of great players and at best he’s the 4th best center ever behind Kareem, Wilt and Hakeem.

    • dondada10 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      Blinded by his rings? 4th best center? Dude, you couldn’t be further from the case.

    • daddyghi - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      this guy’s clearly dumb… and you know he’s a fan of you know who… KB? 24? 08?

    • andyhr17 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Patented move? Dude, this isn’t a video game. It’s not Bulls vs. Lakers on the Genesis where Tom Chambers can dunk from the free throw line. His patented move was being a dominant f’ing center and winning rings.

  10. kb2408 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Not taking anything away from Mr. Russell, the play was spectacular, but Vinsanity jumped over a 7′ German dude and finished with a dunk!!

    • dondada10 - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      He was French.

      • fatcamper - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        These colors don’t run…’merica!

      • philtration - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        And that is why Cater brushed his “oui oui” on the top of the guy’s head.

  11. ochotrinko - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Any truth to the rumor Nike tried to remove this video from the Internet?

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