HoopsHype Bill Russell rumors

October 14, 2014 Updates

Ryan Glasspiegel: Do you think that Boston gets a bad rap as a racist city? Bob Ryan: I think Boston deserved its rap in the 50’s, 60’s, and even into the 70’s. I definitely think that there were problems with black athletes. We all know the well-documented stuff about Bill Russell trying to buy a house and having things smeared on his wall. We all know that that there were unhappy Boston athletes such as Reggie Smith that had every reason to be upset. I know it’s evolved into something that is much better. There’s been no problem for any athlete going back to Mo Vaughn, and even earlier. They’ll all tell you, “Boston — what’s the problem? There is no problem. No more than any other city.” But yes, it was a racist city and it’s always been affected by the fact that the Red Sox were the last team to integrate in MLB. Tom Yawkey did hire racist people and they had a strong element of racism in the Red Sox organization for way too long. No question about that. The Big Lead

October 13, 2014 Updates

After his day shift at Alcatraz, Hernan attended night school at USF and saw many of the Dons’ wins. “The whole world knew that Bill Russell was not an ordinary basketball player,” Hernan said. “If ever there was a team leader, he was it. K.C. Jones was right behind him.” That season, the Dons became the first team in NCAA history to go undefeated, finishing 29-0, and Russell posted 26 points and 27 rebounds in the final against Iowa, an 83-71 win, giving the Dons back-to-back titles. The Chronicle called them “the finest undergraduate team since Naismith first hung the peach basket.” Utah coach Jack Gardner called them “the greatest team ever assembled.” And the convicts of Alcatraz wanted to meet them. Boston Globe

For the visit, the team dressed sharply, in jackets and ties. “The warden told us, ‘When you walk through the cell block, they’re going to announce you’re walking through,’ ” Boldt said. The reaction was something the players wouldn’t forget. “They all cheered us,” Boldt said. “They said, ‘That’s the way to go, Dons!’ “They treated us like we were gods. I’m not kidding. Like rock stars. That was it. “They all cheered and clapped their hands. They said to Russell, ‘That’s the way to go there, big black brother!’ They cheered us and they were very happy to have us there.” Convicts fired away with basketball questions and comments. One told Farmer, “I remember against SMU, you had 26 points in the Final Four. You were a great player.” But they were truly fond of Russell, who averaged 20.6 points and 21 rebounds that season. “They looked at Bill Russell like he was God,” Boldt said. Said Farmer, “He was very popular.” Boston Globe

So the day Russell & Co. strolled through marked a true rarity: a memory convicts could savor. Which makes its lack of publicity all the more mysterious. For reasons no one can quite explain, the visit by the most popular sports team in the area — and the most dominant college basketball team in the country — stayed hidden, it appears, until Luke mentioned it halfway through his self-published book, “Entombed in Alcatraz,” released in 2011. “Everyone was startled to see them,” Luke wrote, “but it was a nice change.” A change that, however brief, allowed these notorious convicts to feel and act like regular joes, connected through something that has connected so many, no matter how different, for so long: sports. There is more to their trip, and to basketball’s story on Alcatraz. Radios. Gambling. Racial tension. A convict vote. Basketball goals erected in the recreation yard. Clint Eastwood. And, improbably, Rajon Rondo. And none of it would have unfolded without the warden, Paul Madigan. Boston Globe

August 11, 2014 Updates

David Stern was so afraid of inviting notoriously cantankerous Bill Russell to Stern’s induction ceremony into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the former NBA commissioner had a mutual friend ask the Boston Celtic legend. Russell always felt that black players and coaches were given short shrift in the Hall of Fame, and hadn’t been there in 40 years. He refused to attend both the ceremony when his No. 6 jersey was retired in 1972 by the Celtics and his own induction into the Hall of Fame in 1975. New York Post

July 17, 2014 Updates

Boston Celtics officials say NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell is doing OK after collapsing during a speaking engagement near Lake Tahoe. Team spokeswoman Heather Walker says the 80-year-old felt faint after the Thursday morning fall at the Hyatt Regency resort in Incline Village but was scheduled to fly out Thursday night. USA Today Sports

Scott Isaacs: UPDATE: Bill Russell collapsed while giving a speech in Lake Tahoe. #Celtics tell me he is doing OK and will likely fly out tonight #wcvb Twitter

Russell is recovering at a hospital near Lake Tahoe after collapsing during a speaking gig early this morning ... the Boston Celtics tell TMZ Sports. Russell was doing a speaking engagement when he "fell faint" ... and collapsed. We're told an ambulance was called to the scene and transported the 80-year-old to a nearby hospital. The Celtics tell us Russell is being treated at the hospital -- and is already starting to feel better. He's hoping to fly out of Lake Taho tonight ... and the rep says right now it looks like he'll be able to do that. TMZ.com

March 9, 2014 Updates
March 4, 2014 Updates

Since then, the question "Who’s on your Mount Rushmore?" has been asked of just about every basketball mind you can name. On Monday in Milwaukee, Abdul-Jabbar fielded it during a press conference before the Jazz and the Bucks tipped off. "It’s impossible," he said of picking just four players. "I don’t know what LeBron was thinking. He didn’t even see Bill Russell play. He has no idea what Bill Russell did. Eleven championships in 13 years? Eight in a row? LeBron isn’t going to get anywhere near that. I don’t get it. And here he didn’t want Bill Russell on his Rushmore. I think today’s players have a very limited perspective on the game." "LeBron has to re-think that," he added. "He needs to go and do some research and watch some old film, and hopefully he’ll be impressed." Salt Lake Tribune

February 19, 2014 Updates

Jot Down magazine interview: Joe Arlauckas on Bill Russell when he was the Sacramento Kings head coach: "Bill Russell was a guy who didn't have any (expletive) clue about coaching. He was a legend, but come on man... he was lucky he had assistant Willis Reed. At the end they gave him a front office job because he had no idea. The first day he came to practice, he sat on the stands and fell asleep. Two hours later he woke up and said to Willis: 'Hey, it's 11.30. Quick, wrap up practice, I have to meet a friend to play golf'. This is heavy stuff." TuBasket.com

February 17, 2014 Updates
February 16, 2014 Updates
February 12, 2014 Updates
December 8, 2013 Updates

Kobe Bryant said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that his four dream teammates for a pickup game would be Magic Johnson,Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Interesting that Bryant omitted former Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan. But Jordan excluded Bryant on his list, picking Johnson, Scottie Pippen, James Worthy and Hakeem Olajuwon for his team. Newsday

December 3, 2013 Updates

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played in their 469th regular-season win for the Spurs on Monday, giving them the third-highest total for any trio of teammates in NBA history. The Spurs' big three had been tied with Bill Russell, K.C. Jones and Sam Jones (468 for Boston). The two higher totals were by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for the Celtics (540); and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper for the Lakers (490). ESPN.com

November 1, 2013 Updates

A statue of Celtics legend Bill Russell was unveiled Nov. 1 at City Hall Plaza, and while the public portion of the event was cancelled due to inclement weather, a star-studded group of Celtics legends, other NBA Hall of Famers, musicians, businessmen, and historians was scheduled to be on hand. Boston Globe

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