07/16/2010 07:55 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Greatest NBA Player Ever? Aren't You Forgetting Someone?

Now that the Lebron James sweepstakes has been decided there is the usual chatter about who is the best NBA player ever.

Of course, there is the deafening roar of "MJ, MJ" and who could quarrel with that? The Kobe chorus is certainly growing in volume with back-to-back championships and 5 rings in all. Some are even opining that Bron-Bron will re-write the record books and become the player against whom all others will be judged.

Definitely and interesting debate but incomplete in my opinion.

Why has the collective basketball universe forgotten William Felton Russell? Bill Russell, #6 for the Boston Celtics ... Remember him?

I am not old enough to have ever actually seen him play live but as the great American statesman Jay Z once said - "men lie, women lie but numbers don't lie." Bill Russell won back-to-back National Championships in college. Kobe and Lebron never attended college and even his 'Air'-ness can't match that accomplishment.

He won an Olympic gold medal in 1956 when the American team was still limited to truly amateur players. Russell won NBA Championships in an astounding 11 of 13 seasons. He currently has as many rings as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James combined!

Russell has all of the usual All-this and All-that awards and only he and the great Wilt (Norman) Chamberlain have ever snagged 50 rebounds in a single game.

With whatever criteria are used to anoint the greatest NBA player of all-time, how can the world pay such little respect to the accomplishments of Bill Russell?

And I will not even bore you with a discussion about which of the above mentioned athletes carried the mantle of social change and demanded dignity for all people.