HoopsHype Bill Russell rumors

November 3, 2011 Updates

Younger fans, who have watched the Knicks excel only at ticket prices, front-­office chaos and the decibel level of the Garden’s public-address system, may find the idea of the Knicks as the embodiment of intelligent, disciplined, unselfish play ludicrous. They would be well advised to pick up Harvey Araton’s “When the Garden Was Eden.” It will give them a clear picture of what made the Knicks so endearing, as well as a taste of how overwrought that affection could become. The Knicks, after all, never came close to the dynastic record of the Red Auerbach-Bill Russell Boston Celtics, or Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls, or his Lakers. Why, then, would accomplished adults like Woody Allen sneak away from a dinner party for a glimpse of a Knicks game (a moment captured in “Annie Hall”)? Why would the advertising legend George Lois spend every game under the basket, screaming obscenities at the refs? New York Times

October 8, 2011 Updates

William “Bill” Russell, former star center for the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics, accused the National Collegiate Athletic Association of using his likeness from his college playing days without paying him or seeking his consent. The complaint is the latest to claim the NCAA violates federal antitrust laws by keeping former student basketball and football athletes from receiving compensation for the commercial use of their images and likenesses. The association has denied wrongdoing in those cases. Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest U.S. video-game maker, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California. Russell accuses it of using his image in a “Tournament of Legends” feature on an NCAA basketball video game. BusinessWeek.com

September 24, 2011 Updates
July 11, 2011 Updates

City Hall Plaza will serve as home to the Bill Russell statue, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca announced Monday in a brief ceremony on the expected location on the south side near State Street. While considering a handful of locations during the selection process, a site visit to City Hall Plaza with Russell confirmed to the legacy committee that it was the ideal spot. "The mayor brought Bill here and, when they came to look at the site, literally hundreds of kids surrounded him and were taking pictures," said Pagliuca. "It was as if he was a live statue here. It's going to be very exciting." ESPN.com

A site has been chosen for the statue of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and the location will be announced today by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a team spokeswoman said yesterday. The mayor will be joined by Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and members of the Bill Russell Legacy Project Committee in detailing plans for a tribute to the NBA Hall of Famer. In February, President Obama presented Russell, who won 11 NBA titles with the Celtics as a player and a coach, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his civil rights advocacy. Boston Globe

June 8, 2011 Updates

At that, Hall of Fame guard Oscar Robertson, who may have been every bit as good as Jordan in his day, just rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “I didn’t hear the comments,” Robertson told the Dan Sileo Show on WDAE in Tampa Wednesday morning. “Let me tell you about what being great is. Ever hear of Elgin Baylor? Never mention his name, do we? Great basketball player. You know what you have today? Michael Jordan was a great player, but he won after Chicago got Pippen, Grant and those other players to go along with him, because for a while they couldn’t beat Detroit. “Everybody looks at what you’ve done. Sure he won six championships, Russell won eleven. There are other players on these teams when they play. They don’t play by themselves. Michael Jordan is a great player. Was he the greatest? Ask Kobe that. Ask Bill Russell. Ask Oscar Robertson. Ask Wilt Chamberlain. Ask Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, ask those guys.” Sporting News

June 2, 2011 Updates

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls in Chicago Tribune Live to discuss the recent debate: Who is basketball's greatest player ever? "I think the greatest player of all time was Bill Russell because he led his team to 11 NBA championships including eight in a row. That's an awesome feat. He didn't do at the offensive end, he did it at the defensive end. But he was the key ingredient in their dominance. I think he deserves the accolade of being the greatest player to ever play the game." CSN Chicago

May 18, 2011 Updates

The legend that is Bill Russell said he’s afraid a statue of him may appear more of a memorial than a monument at his age, but he’s flattered just the same. “It makes me a little uneasy, ’cause it seems almost like a tombstone,” Russell said yesterday. “And I don’t want to engrave my tombstone yet.” In a Fenway Park [map] press conference, Russell, Mayor Thomas Menino and the Celitcs’ front office officially announced the formation of the Bill Russell Legacy Committee that will select an artist, design and location for the statue. Boston Herald

May 14, 2011 Updates

Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown said Thunder forward Serge Ibaka "has some of the same instincts" as former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell, long considered the best defender in history. When informed of Brown's remark, Brooks raised both eyebrows. Would Ibaka even know who Russell is? "Hmmm, probably not," Brooks said. Was Brown's remark too bold? "That's a little aggressive," Brooks said, drawing laughter from reporters. Oklahoman

May 13, 2011 Updates

What are your thoughts on Serge Ibaka? Ramsay: “Ibaka is a special guy. His shot-blocking talent is very rare. Bill Russell had that. In all the years I watched Russell, I never saw him block a shot out of bounds. He'd touch it to a teammate. He didn't go after every shot. But you didn't know which ones he wasn't going after. Players would look for him, pause, get open, look for him, and by then, it was too late. Ibaka has some of the same instincts.” Oklahoman

May 5, 2011 Updates

The Celtics announced plans yesterday to build a statue of Russell, the player who not only helped bring 11 NBA titles to Boston but also served as a symbol for the racial tension in the city during the civil rights movement and the progress ever since. “I think the president’s comments certainly catalyzed a lot of thoughts and efforts that were going on in the city,’’ said Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, who collaborated extensively with Mayor Thomas M. Menino to honor Russell. “The mayor was in favor of this. The governor was in favor of this. We were looking at doing this. So I think those comments really helped catalyze this group coming together and continuing to work to get this done. Now it’s going to become a reality. “When the president talks, people listen.’’ Boston Globe

The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday that, at long last, Bill Russell will be honored with a statue in the city of Boston. "We are honored to play a role in paying tribute to such an extraordinary athlete, leader and legacy," Celtics managing partner/co-owner Stephen Pagliuca said. "Bill Russell will forever be remembered in Boston, and it's fitting that the ultimate benefactors of his legacy will be future generations of our beloved city's youth." It was not immediately clear where the statue would be erected. Last year, a statue of Bruins legend Bobby Orr was unveiled in front of the TD Garden. ESPN.com

For his part, Russell was humbled by the honor. "I am uncomfortable with honors such as this but my years as captain of the Boston Celtics were the proudest moments of my career," Russell said. "Mayor Menino's Boston has proven to be a city that embraces the diverse contributions of all its people and neighborhoods. I am thankful to the Celtics and all the contributors for the effort to create such a wonderful mentoring program." During a White House ceremony earlier this year in which he awarded Russell a Medal of Freedom, President Barack Obama said he hoped Boston would build a statue of Russell. "I hope that one day in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man," Obama said. ESPN.com

May 4, 2011 Updates

The Celtics will announce later today plans to build a statue to honor Hall of Famer Bill Russell, according to a team source. Russell brought 11 NBA titles to Boston from 1956 to 1969, and carved a legacy on the court and away from it. Details regarding the style and location of the statue are not known. Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, as well as one of the game's most dominant defenders, Russell won more championships than anyone in NBA history, anchoring teams led by Red Auerbach, his coach and close friend. Boston Globe

April 18, 2011 Updates

Q. Do you mind sharing your list? A. Sure. In chronological order it was Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. There are two players today, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who have a chance to join that list. Q. Compare your son Luke’s talents to yours. A. He’s a much better player than I was. He’s in his eighth season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, the best team in basketball, and he plays for Phil Jackson. New York Times

February 28, 2011 Updates
February 18, 2011 Updates

The unveiling of a Bill Russell statue in Boston appears to be just a matter of time. According to Celtics [team stats] co-owner Steve Pagliuca, the organization has already begun the process of getting the statue created and placed. And it didn’t hurt Tuesday when President Barack Obama, while awarding Russell the Medal of Freedom, mentioned that such a monument should be erected for future generations. “We’ve had preliminary discussions with most of the constituencies, and the mayor (Thomas Menino) wants it to happen, President Obama wants it to happen, and,” said Pagliuca, “we’re going to really try to help make it happen. Boston Herald

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