Feb. 16, 1958

NBA numbers crunchers should disown their ancestors for failing to recognize blocked shots as a statistic worth recording. Blocks were not a certified NBA stat until the 1973-74 season.

Since Bill Russell retired in 1969, after leading the Celtics to their 11th championship, anyone claiming the mantel of all-time leader in blocked shots should be strapped to a chair and forced to watch Russell at work.

This comes to mind after reading a report on the Celtics’ 110-96 win over the Philadelphia Warriors on this date.

Frank Ramsey scored 35 points. Bob Cousy scored 24. Russell scored 18.

Additionally, Russell hauled in 35 rebounds while, according to the AP writer on duty, he “blocked numerous shots.”

According to various observers – refs, players and reporters among them – Wilt Chamberlain blocked more shots than Russell during their careers. But, as Russell has been quoted as saying, “The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”

By the existing numbers, Hakeem Olajuwon is the all-time leader in blocked shots with 3,830.

We’ll never know how far he is behind Chamberlain and Russell.

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