HoopsHype Bill Russell rumors

October 24, 2012 Updates

Three weeks later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stopped by the suite at L’Ermitage and formally welcomed Howard into the pantheon of Lakers centers. Abdul-Jabbar showed Howard a championship ring and gave him a jersey. “He told me I had athleticism like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell,” Howard says. “He said, ‘You’ve put in a lot of work for the last eight years, you’ve sowed your seeds, and now it’s time to reap the benefits.’ ” When Abdul-Jabbar left, Howard wept, and not simply because he’d gained the acceptance he always sought. “With everything I was going through, all the pain,” Howard says, “I was just so happy someone understood how hard I had worked.” SI.com

September 30, 2012 Updates

Jordan aspires to be like Russell, even changing his jersey number from 9 to 6 prior to last season in order to pay tribute to the winningest big man in NBA history. Yet despite Jordan’s seemingly unlimited potential, the 24-year-old is still settling into his role as the Clippers’ anchor. “I think you have to take steps at a time, but if he understand he’s out there to control the defensive glass, to block shots, to run the court, to set good screens, and the other stuff will come,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “If he’s able to accept his role and understand his role all the other things will happen because he’s so athletic.” NBA.com

September 13, 2012 Updates

What have you been up to this summer? Bill Russell: I mostly didn't do anything but I did take care of a health question that needed to be addressed. It's really funny, but what I did was almost routine. But when you describe it, it doesn't sound routine. I had a valve in my heart that had to be replaced and the way you replace it is by open-heart surgery. Well, open-heart surgery sounds difficult but this was not an emergency. It was something I had to do. The same operation in an emergency is life threatening. This was not life threatening. NBA.com

September 11, 2012 Updates
September 10, 2012 Updates
June 23, 2012 Updates

Howard didn't seem eager to trade in his uniform for a business suit, but he liked the idea of being a player coach like the legendary Celtics center whose handed out the Bill Russell Finals MVP Trophy to James. "Yeah, like Bill Russell," Howard smiled. "I haven't got that far yet. I still got the passion and love for the game." Sun Herald

May 28, 2012 Updates
May 15, 2012 Updates

The design for a statue of Boston Celtics great Bill Russell has been unveiled. The statue scheduled to be placed on City Hall Plaza next year will feature Russell in uniform with his arm around a youth, reflecting his dedication to mentoring youngsters. Oklahoman

March 20, 2012 Updates

Where is the most room for improvement in your game? Basically, I need to shoot the ball at a more consistent rate and get stronger. Who do you most like to be compared to? Nerlens Noel: I like the comparison to Bill Russell. He was a great legend of the game. And he won multiple championships in Boston, and that’s where I’m from. So, that comparison means a lot to me. USA Basketball

March 3, 2012 Updates

The 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game is not only an occasion to remember the accomplishment, but also the man. What better way to reflect on Chamberlain’s signature moment than through the eyes of his friend and most bitter rival? So I called Bill Russell, the 11-time champion of the Celtics, and asked if he’d be so kind as to share his thoughts about the occasion 50 years ago Friday. I’ll provide his response, followed by the context. The response from Russell: “Not really.” “Is it a bad time, or is it a topic you don’t really want to talk about?” “A little of both,” he said. And that was that. I apologized for the intrusion and wished Russell the best. “No intrusion,” Russell said. “And thank you.” CBSSports.com

I shared the conversation with Sy Goldberg, Chamberlain’s longtime friend and attorney. On the phone from Los Angeles, Goldberg was neither surprised nor particularly offended by Russell’s reaction. “There was a love-hate relationship between these two guys,” Goldberg said. Let it be noted that Russell, who turned 78 last month, harbors no grudges or animosity toward Chamberlain – nothing different than they ever did, anyway. Goldberg said in the old days, the NBA used to schedule the Sixers and Celtics on Thanksgiving Day, and when the game was in Philadelphia, Russell was a guest at casa de Chamberlain for Thanksgiving dinner. “Russell was there all the time,” Goldberg said. “They were close friends.” CBSSports.com

March 1, 2012 Updates
January 11, 2012 Updates

Miami All-Star forward Chris Bosh surveyed the banners at USF's Memorial Gym where the Heat had a shoot-around Tuesday and stopped at the one that represented Bill Russell. Russell played at USF from 1953-56 before leading the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships. Last year, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the highest civilian awards in the United States. San Francisco Chronicle

November 25, 2011 Updates

Considering Bill Sharman is 85, and two stars from that team (Wilt Chamberlain, Happy Hairston) are deceased, while two others (LeRoy Ellis, Flynn Robinson) are battling cancer — and taking into account the team’s impressive imprint — you would think David Stern would have headed lickety-split to the appropriate location and personally unlocked the league’s film archives. Every living player on the team was interviewed, Joyce Sharman said. Many others, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (whose Bucks squad convincingly shattered the streak on national TV on a Sunday afternoon), Bill Russell and Phil Jackson, also provided insight. Lakers players figured 33 games without a loss would earn them some type of reward from infamously frugal owner Jack Kent Cooke, maybe a Hawaiian vacation or a monetary gratitude for a job spectacularly done. New York Post

November 10, 2011 Updates

Hall of Famer Bill Russell said a solution to the NBA lockout is being jeopardized by hard-liners on both sides, and urged the parties to put aside their differences and reach a compromise “they can live with.” “As a very interested bystander, I just hope they get a deal,” Russell told CBSSports.com in a phone interview. “And it will not come from the hard-liners on either side. I think they all know that. I have this theory that hard-liners are like true believers. And true believers think that any compromise is a retreat. And moving forward, that doesn’t cut it.” CBSSports.com

Russell’s words carry weight – and not just because he is the most decorated champion in NBA history. The former Celtics’ star was among a group of 20 All-Stars who threatened to boycott the 1964 All-Star Game in Boston unless the NBA recognized the newly formed players’ union. “Basically I was one of those guys that helped get the players’ association started,” Russell said. “And they've done wonderful things. I knew David Stern before he was commissioner, when he was associate attorney for the NBA. And if I remember correctly, he said, ‘I do not consider the players' association my adversaries. They're my business partners.’ “That's where, a lot of the things that David has done -- and I’ve known him up close -- have been beneficial for both sides,” Russell said. CBSSports.com

November 9, 2011 Updates

“Easy” Ed Macauley was at the center of one of the most important trades in NBA history: He was the key man sent from Boston to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for just-drafted Bill Russell. Of course, Russell and Red Auerbach’s Celtics now seem fated for one another, forever linked by their 11 championships, but Big Russ might never have landed in Boston had Easy Ed just said no. Celtics owner Walter Brown actually asked the 6-8, 190-pound center—an All-Star in each of his six seasons in Boston and the MVP of the very first ASG—for permission to ship him to St. Louis. Ed was happy to return to his hometown, so Hawks GM Marty Blake (yes, that Marty Blake) agreed to take Russell with the second pick in the ’56 Draft and ship him to Boston in exchange for second-year pro Macauley and Cliff Hagan, the former Kentucky star returning from a military stint. SLAM

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.