Winningest/most successful career doesn't not equal the greatest individual player.
Russell's career was mindblowing and one that we'll never see the likes of again in terms of team success, but he's not even carved in stone as the consensus #2 or 3.
For every 100 "greatest players ever" list there is, 99 of them begin with Jordan and rightfully so.
After that there's typically a handful of players that get debated to round out the top 5. Russell is definitely in this conversation, but so are the likes of Wilt (who played at the same time as Russell and was statistically better in so many ways and clearly better athletically, but didn't have the same team success - but wasn't on a team as good as the Celtics), Magic, Kareem, Bird, etc.
I do agree that the Crosby/Gretzky vs LeBron/Jordan comparison is way off. LeBron is currently (for the past yr) playing some of the greatest basketball ever played. One of the most complete games the NBA has ever seen and if he continues at this level while winning multiple championships, the Jordan vs LeBron debates will be endless.
This is a hockey forum so it is the last I will argue it. The point was Jordan himself has used the rings logic very recently in the Kobe vs Lebron debate.
If you had to pick between the two, that would be a tough choice, but five beats one every time I look at it.
And not that he [James] won't get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.
So 11 beats 6 everytime. Bill Russell was maybe the greatest defensive player in league history and rebounder. He played in a time with other great post players, Jordan played in a very weak shooting gaurd era, something a lot of people miss.
Really doesn't matter depends on what you look at but Lebron is the most complete basketball player I have seen. Slightly better than Magic in that regard. Of course my Dad would say Oscar Robertson is the greatest single basketball player he has ever seen and most complete. He cares a great deal about that sport and I don't. And to be clear he never lived in Milwaukee like I do so that isn't some homer comment.
The point of there is no argument with Jordan is one I don't buy. Certainly I don't fault anybody listing him as number 1, but there are other arguments, Russell's argument is among the most compelling particularly because Jordan uses his titles to defend his top position a lot. A strange argument considering how it thrusts another top 5 player in the debate into a very favorable position.
But you can argue anything in sports, that is part of the fun. I think Bobby Orr is the greatest hockey player, that isn't the norm either.
I love that it seems like for home games this season, the Joe staff must move the glass walls separating the benches closer together by about 3 inches per game, giving Murph less and less room in-between the benches. I think that by mid-April, he'll be standing sideways and have to be sprayed down with Pam before each game to get him in and out of there.