There's a common stereotype that today's NBA superstars are more physically gifted than their predecessors, and that NBA legends of years past may not stack up athletically in today's league.
Kendrick Perkins reinforced that stereotype Monday on Twitter -- until one of those NBA legends called him out on it.
Here's the former Boston Celtics big man dubbing LeBron James "the most athletic player in NBA history:"
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Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!! https://t.co/CJWRoz2cQz— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) June 16, 2020
And here's Celtics icon Bill Russell, who responded Tuesday night (with evidence) that he was a damn good athlete in his own right:
In 56 I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead we could only play one sport then. Track and Field News ranked me #7 high jumper in the world, I was ranked #2 in the US @ the time. @celtics @NBA pic.twitter.com/6FqZjiMlhG— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 17, 2020
In addition to my leaping ability, I was also an somewhat known as an outstanding sprinter. And some people may remember this : https://t.co/Am6UN7xdOT— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 17, 2020
The original GOAT has spoken. (Also, that video clip of Russell's coast-to-coast layup is incredible.)
As expected, Perkins backpedaled quicker than he ever has on a basketball court:
Well I’ve been checked by an All-Time Great so sorry @KingJames I’ve had a change of heart....@RealBillRussell is the Most Athletic Player in NBA History!!! My apologies @RealBillRussell 🤣👊🏾🙌🏾💪🏾 https://t.co/6JogEGmUgG— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) June 17, 2020
It's almost impossible to choose the NBA's most "athletic" player, as that's a highly subjective term.
But Russell's tweet is a good reminder that players of his generation were every bit as athletic as today's stars -- all while running the court in Chuck Taylors instead of today's high-tech sneakers.