We’re all considering lots about Bill Russell this week as basketball lost considered one of its biggest, most influential, and successful players of all time. The NBA rolled out its plans to honor Russell this week with the No. 6 being retired league wide, players wearing patches, and courts being adorned with clovers for the upcoming season.
This all got me considering: What if NBA 2K followed suit? Easily one of the vital memorable additions in franchise history are the “Jordan Challenges,” which first appeared in NBA 2K11 are being rebooted in 2K23. From winning the National Championship at North Carolina, to the flu game, and hitting “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo, the Jordan Challenges perfectly hit the suitable chord of nostalgia and difficulty.
Relating to Russell, nevertheless, it’s a complete latest ball game. We’re talking about taking players back to the Sixties and asking them to utterly break the sport using one player. Even against sub-par competition and old-school basketball sensibilities, could we actually expect someone to realize any of those Bill Russell challenges?
The Entire Show: March 11, 1965 vs. Pistons
Challenge: Rating 27 points on 40 percent shooting or higher, record 49 total rebounds, while committing just one foul
Truthfully, you would need to drop someone into the fourth quarter with this one already recording 40 rebounds to make it work. Getting reliable rebounds in 2K isn’t exactly easy, ask asking for 49 is ridiculous.
This was an incredible game that highlights Russell’s overall dominance. He led each teams in points, assist, and rebounds (obviously) with no person coming remotely near him on boards. After Russell the second highest rebounder was Detroit’s Jackie Moreland, who brought down 10 — again, RUSSELL HAD 49!
While this mid-season game wasn’t exactly a high stakes affair, it was an incredible example of how so few were near him on the court.
Challenge: Record a minimum of 10 points, 20+ rebounds and 10 assists
Here’s a challenge we’ve to tone way back. The 1962 NBA Finals featuring Russell and Sam Jones dueling Jerry West and Elgin Baylor is considered one of the legendary NBA Finals’ series in history. While the Celtics prevailed in seven, it was Game 6 where Boston leaned on No. 6 to be all the rattling show, opening up the court for Jones to attain 35 points as the amount shooter.
Russell finished the night with 19 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists. It could have been considered one of the primary triple-doubles in NBA history if that was a recorded stat back in 1962. The added level of challenge playing against a team the caliber of the early-60s Lakers makes this one to place in the sport.
Changing history: January 30, 1968 vs. 76ers
Challenge: Beat Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers
That is considered one of those legendary games that usually gets ignored due to box rating. In late January of 1968, Russell and the Celtics were absolutely swallowed alive by Wilt Chamberlain in a 125-118 loss.
The ultimate rating doesn’t do justice to only how utterly demolished Russell was on this game. In an era before statistics were fully tracked we don’t have a terrific grasp on the matchup within the paint outside of knowing that Russell went 3-of-10 from the sector, while Chamberlain went off for 23 points, 29 boards, and 13 assists.
It’s a terrific opportunity to place the Russell vs. Chamberlain in a match where No. 6 was the underdog in considered one of the rare cases in his profession.
Block Party: February 7, 1966 vs. Warriors
Challenge: Record 20+ blocks in a win over San Francisco
A part of the fun of a challenge mode like that is going back and applying modern concepts to old games. On this case it’s blocks. Russell is unequivocally considered considered one of the best shot blockers of all time, but at a time before blocks were a recorded statistic.
There have been huge fan projects to trace down every game report possibly to attempt to estimate blocks from this era, with it being generally accepted that Russell blocked roughly 8.1 shots per game during his profession. Within this ridiculous primary Russell game stands head and shoulders above the remaining — against the poor Warriors, who were obliterated in 1966.
Local write ups of the sport attributed 25 blocks to Russell against San Francisco. This seems to mesh with the official box rating, which shows the Warriors shooting 37-for-88 from the sector (below their average) and Russell recording an uncharacteristically low 11 rebounds — potentially because he was blocking so many shots as an alternative.
Even when there’s a bit fiction to this it could be a particularly fun addition to the mode.
The last hurrah: Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Challenge: Hold Wilt Chamberlain to 18 points
The ultimate game of Bill Russell’s NBA profession was also considered one of his most vital. Once more facing the Los Angeles Lakers within the NBA Finals, it was Russell’s first time staring down a team containing Jerry West, Elgin Baylor AND Wilt Chamberlain with all the things on the road.
A back-and-forth series pushed each teams to the limit, and it was clear that an aging Russell now not may very well be a difference maker offensively against Chamberlain, a player to whom he’s so often compared, and had his number up to now.
West, playing like a person possessed, was eager to win a hoop that went off for 42 points in the sport and overcame an early Celtics lead and out-scored Boston 30-17 within the fourth quarter. Elgin Baylor added one other 20, and with Wilt averaging 30.1 throughout the season, all of the Lakers needed was a typical game from their big man in the center.
Chamberlain ended up scoring 18, stuffed on the rim by Russell’s defensive prowess. The Lakers would go on to lose 108-106 — allowing Russell to retire from the NBA with one more championship to his name.