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Bill Russell - 1934-2022


ztejas
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This stirred me a bit more than I was expecting. He was still such a visible ambassador for the game - and on top of everything he did on the court he was a civil rights icon. Just a gargantuan figure in American sports history. 

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5 minutes ago, Underdog said:

RIP to a member of one of the best infields in mlb history...

image.jpeg.2d230021995f202f93d26fff0a2c1c10.jpeg

 

Big Bill would be mY 2nd choice at Center behind KAJ for All-Time team.  

Same, I was just discussing this with a couple of friends.

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The man could have also scored at a much higher clip than he did, but he knew that his Boston teams didn't need scoring from him.  They already had scorers like Sharman, Heinsohn, Sam Jones, etc.  They needed his elite defense, rebounding, and leadership. 

RIP to a legend.  I'm a Lakers fan, but had tremendous respect for Russell.  

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Posted (edited)

RIP one of the all time greats and all around good guys.  

Edit: I really take it for granted that some of these players will live forever.   He was such an ambassador to the game and fun listen.  He'll be missed. 

Edited by Mdhorn
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This one hits me hard. I hope people don't overlook what an amazing person he was in addition to being the greatest winner in professional sports. Or that he was the first African-American to be head coach of a professional team. 

And one of the greatest laughs of all time.

 

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Posted (edited)

Dammit this is depressing.  A true legend and a man among men.  I spent my childhood watching Russell and Hondo and the boys rule the basketball world on a B&W TV.

Thanks and RIP Mr. Russell...

Edited by SHOOTER12
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Hell, I had forgotten about this:

https://andscape.com/features/bill-russell-a-lifetime-phenomenon-as-an-athlete/

Quote

His outspokenness and advocacy extended to his relationship with the Basketball Hall of Fame. Though he was inducted in 1975, Russell refused to attend the ceremony or accept the ring because he believed other African Americans deserved the honor first and that there was racism in the selection process. It wasn’t until 2019 that the Presidential Medal of Freedom winner accepted his ring from the Hall. This came after former NBA forward Chuck Cooper, who became the first African American to play in an NBA game on Oct. 31, 1950, was inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame class.

 

 

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I see players intentionally block shots as far out of bounds as they can (for dramatic effect, I suppose) and the ball simply returns to the offensive team extending the possession.  When Bill Russell blocked a shot, his goal was not only to intimidate, but to keep the ball >in play< starting the Celtics fast break. 

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JoePos:

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We lost Bill Russell on Sunday — the greatest winner in American sports history. In Bill Russell’s life, he won two high school championships, two NCAA championships, an Olympic Gold medal and 11 NBA titles, two of them as the first Black coach in American sports.

My pal Michael Schur put up this fitting tweet:

And I thought: You know what? Bill Russell is not only on the Boston Mount Rushmore, not only on NBA Mount Rushmore — he’s on the Mount Rushmore of American Sports. All of them.

And then I thought: OK, who would be on that mountain?

Here was my first stab:

Jackie Robinson
Bill Russell
Muhammad Ali
Babe Ruth

That’s a pretty good mountain — I’d visit that before I’d visit the actual Mount Rushmore — but as American as baseball is, I’m not really sure the sport can have TWO players on it. I mean — no football? Football is THE American sport and has been for probably 30 or 40 years, at least.

But I’m not sure there’s a football player who has risen to the level of those four, when you consider everything about them. I mean, there’s the great Jim Brown — but there are a few issues there. Tom Brady? Joe Montana? Gale Sayers? Peyton Manning? Alan Page? Roger Staubach? All great choices, but none of them feel quite right.

What about Jim Thorpe? My friend David Maraniss’ book on Thorpe is coming out in a few days, and it’s terrific, and Thorpe represents football and baseball and the Olympics and pretty much everything else. I like him on the mountain.

Who would he replace? Let’s try him in place of Ruth and see how that looks:

Jackie Robinson
Muhammad Ali
Bill Russell
Jim Thorpe

That looks pretty good. I’d visit that mountain, too. But we can’t have an American Mount Rushmore without Babe Ruth, can we?

For that matter: Can the mountain really not have Michael Jordan on it? Has an American athlete ever been more renowned than MJ? Didn’t he hit the height of heights in American sports history?

Wait, what about Serena Williams? How can this mountain not have Serena Williams? Has there been a more amazing American sports story than Serena?

Of course, Ali should be on there — but should Ali really be on there more than Joe Louis? Who has meant more than Joe Louis?

Wait, what about Jesse Owens? He won gold after gold under the outstretched arm of the Nazis, for crying out loud.

How can this mountain not have Ted Williams on it? I mean: greatest hitter who ever lived AND an American hero. The man had John Glenn as his wingman.

Um, what about Tiger Woods?

Then, if we’re talking Tiger, what about Jack Nicklaus?

So, wait — no Michael Phelps? No Kareem? No Jackie Joyner-Kersee? No Willie Mays, no Henry Aaron, no Babe Didrickson-Zaharias, no Lou Gehrig, no Billie Jean King, no Roberto Clemente, no Simone Biles, none of the Sugar Rays, no Wilt Chamberlain, no Sandy Koufax, no Wilma Rudolph, no Arnold Palmer, no Pete Sampras, no Secretariat (that head would be AWESOME on a mountain), no Bobby Jones, no Magic Johnson, no …

Come on, this is impossible. You know what: Forget this. Let’s just do the Boston Rushmore like Mike first suggested.

Bill Russell
Ted Williams
Bobby Orr
Tom Brady

There we go. That’s easy, right? That definitely feels right.

 

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43 If there was one thing Russell knew how to do, it was win. (Getty Images)

This Rushmore is confirmed by Mike Schur, who said he’s had this debate “so many times.” But, Mike adds: “I think you can make the argument that Papi surpassed Williams.

Yeah, you could make that argument. Plus: Are we really leaving Larry Bird off the mountain? Has there ever been a bigger Boston sports hero than Larry Bird? Plus, we’re leaving off Yaz and Bourque and Pedro and Havlicek and Cousy and …

You know what? Four just isn’t enough.

Oh, wait a minute, I just got an email about Bill Russell from my good friend, writer John Garrity, that I want to share with you:

Okay. It’s 1970 and I’m researching a Sport Magazine feature on Dave Cowens at Red Auerbach’s Basketball Camp on Cape Cod. Russ is horsing around with his teenage son on one of the outdoor courts while occasionally looking over his shoulder at the camp kids, who are scrimmaging under the harsh guidance of college and high school coaches. The coaches, thinking that Auerbach will be impressed by their shouting and bullying, have reduced a couple of the kids to tears. After a couple of minutes, the session breaks up and everyone starts to scatter.

But not Russell. He walks over to the two most miserable kids and starts giving them rebounding tips, providing nothing but encouragement and warming them up with that delightful laugh of his. It took only five minutes for him to turn the most miserable hour of their lives into the most memorable. For that, and other reasons, I’ve always considered Bill Russell to be among the five most impressive individuals I’ve met as a journalist.

OK, forget the rest. Let’s let that be the final word. Whatever Mount Rushmore you want to talk about, Bill Russell should be on it.

 

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