Bill Russell Rumors
There were years when Russell wasn’t such an important part of league celebrations. But a few conversations with David Stern enticed Russell back, perhaps one of the most overlooked moves of the former commissioner. And Russell is indeed giving back. He loves to talk, offer his knowledge, and spend time with current players. Quietly, it also seems that Russell enjoys being lauded late in his life. Whatever issues he had with the NBA have dissipated, and the league has given him the proper appreciation for what he has accomplished. So, while it was an unusual to see Russell waiting for James well after midnight, it was heartwarming to watch those who paused to marvel at Russell. He definitely noticed.
James iced his aching joints one last time after the game, a towel draped over his head and a small battalion of Cavaliers’ PR, security, and James’ close friends forming a wall around him. Bill Russell, the legendary, 11-time NBA champion, waited to speak with James in the hallway outside the Cavs’ locker room. It wasn’t immediately clear if the meeting ever happened. Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ majority owner, and minority owner Nate Forbes, made their way to James’ locker for a few words, but they were brief.
To congratulate Stephen Curry for winning the MVP award, Under Armour recruited NBA legend Bill Russell to lend a hand. More specifically, his voice. In Under Armour’s MVP commercial for Curry, Russell reads the famous Jacob Riis quote about a stonecutter pounding away at a rock. Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. This quote is popular in NBA circles thanks to Gregg Popovich, who has used the quote almost like a mantra to motivate the Spurs. With all of the hardwork Curry has done to get to this point, the quote aptly fits him as well.
If only because it reminded Davis of where he wants to go. “When you mention basketball or NBA and you talk about greatest players, I definitely want to be in that conversation,” Davis continued. “You mention Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, all those guys. I want to be in that conversation.”
Even amidst this first-round challenge against the Golden State Warriors that even Russell’s Boston Celtics would have found daunting, Davis found himself picturing the possibilities when he stumbled upon a black-and-white image of one of the game’s greats. “I’m more focused on Golden State, what they’re trying to do to stop us and what we’re trying to do to stop them,” Davis told USA TODAY Sports. “But you do think about Bill Russell and what he did here, what he did for the league. He led the way for guys like us today. “I went in the Bill Russell Room, and me and (a Pelicans media relations official) were saying (as they looked at the picture) that he looks so much younger. He and I were in the same predicament. It’s just cool when you see something like that.”
Now that he’s in charge of the Cavaliers’ latest attempt at a ring, coach David Blatt is trying harder than usual to distance himself from his Celtics-flavored childhood in Framingham. “I’m not a Celtics fan anymore, I can guarantee it,” he said. “Haven’t been one for a while. My Celtics fan days were the days of Bill Russell and the crew. That’s long, long since passed. I’m in a different place now, but I certainly do appreciate the rich history and the great things that franchise did for the NBA and this game.”
“That’s a great honor,” Whiteside said before the Celtics hosted Miami Wednesday. “Everybody knows that Bill Russell is probably one of the best shot blockers that ever lived. That’s really a big honor that he thinks of me that way.”
Cousy lives in Worcester during the summer, but he winters in Florida so he watches his share of Heat games on television and he was impressed when Whiteside came off the bench to record a triple-double on Jan. 25 against the Bulls with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks. “I have never said this in the 40 years since I retired,” Cousy said in a recent telephone interview, “but he is the first big guy, not (Patrick) Ewing, (Hakeem) Olajuwon, Shaq (O’Neal), who reminds me defensively and on the boards of Russell. He runs the floor well, he has excellent timing, he blocks shots and keeps them in play the way Russell did.”
“He was everything to us,” said Jim Tucker, 82, who was in attendance last year when a statue of Lloyd was unveiled at West Virginia State, Lloyd’s alma mater, in the presence of such immortals as Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson.
“I’m not concerned by that,” Rivers said. “I’ve seen Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal] win titles, Bill Russell win titles, Dennis Rodman win titles. So there’s a lot of guys that have missed free throws and won a lot of NBA titles, so that’s not a concern for me at all. What D.J. does for our team is far more valuable than those missed free throws. “I can’t remember the last time he didn’t [have energy for us]. He plays with great spirit and plays hard pretty much every night and he does everything right for us. I agree with Jeff Van Gundy, he should just go walk out on the All-Star Game and go play. Just start playing. Nobody’s going to tell him to get off [the court]. So I think he should just go do it.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Witness Michael Rooney told The Associated Press that Russell was telling a story about Wilt Chamberlain to a roomful of Konica Minolta employees when he started to sway at the podium and then fell backward. Rooney says Russell seemed to be conscious as hotel personnel and first responders came to his aid. The meeting was cut short and attendees left.
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.
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.
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
21 May 14
16 Apr 14
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.”
19 Feb 14
19 Feb 14
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.”
Russell, who is the undisputed greatest winner in the history of the NBA didn’t have to say anything, but I am glad that he did. I hope the Celtics change their Green Runs Deep campaign to Etched in Stone immediately. “Hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore. I’m glad you did. Basketball is a team game, it’s not for individual honors. I won back-to-back state championships in high school, back-to-back NCAA championships in college, I won an NBA championship my first year in the league, an NBA championship in my last year, and nine in between. That, Mr. James, is etched in stone.”
17 Feb 14
17 Feb 14
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.
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).
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.
More dignitaries at Russell ceremony: Alfre Woodard, Gov Patrick, NBA commissioner David Stern, Mayor Menino (who has yet to speak) #celtics
Bill Russell ceremony is star studded. Jim Brown just walked in. Barkley, Erving, Baylor, Henry Louis Gates, Walton, Satch Sanders all here
B/R: Who’s in your all-time starting five? KI: Michael Jordan, Big O, Wilt Chamberlain, Isiah Thomas and Bill Russell.
Hall of Fame Celtics center Bill Russell issued a statement Saturday accepting responsibility for the Wednesday incident in which he was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage. “Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake,” he said. “I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn’t have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe.”
Hall of Fame center Bill Russell was arrested this week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage. Russell was arrested Wednesday night as he attempted to go through security. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper confirmed Friday night that Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. Russell’s gun was confiscated and he was released. Russell’s gun was a .38-caliber pistol and was loaded with six rounds, according to a TSA spokesman. He was turned over to Port of Seattle police and there were no disruptions at the airport.
The saying goes “One can judge a man by the company he keep.” That gem of a quote is credited to Euripides, 480 B.C. Yet, it could just as easily apply to Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett. Since bringing an NBA franchise to his home state, the Oklahoma City native has stayed pretty much in the shadows, letting general manager Sam Presti be the public face of the organization. However, the business mogul and civic leader gave Oklahomans a rare glimpse into his personal life when he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. What stood out to them most about his induction was who he chose to present him. He went with NBA legend Bill Russell. Bennett didn’t choose the Hall of Fame center just to show off. He did it for the simplest of reasons. Russell is a friend. “I have had a very nice relationship with Bill,” Bennett said. “I thought it might be fun to bring him to Oklahoma. And let others hear and enjoy him as I have. He was very gracious to accept. I am honored he would be here.”
Russell is one of the most respected and admired athletes to ever come through the NBA. He is known as a man who chooses his friends carefully. “I am proud to say that Clay is a friend of mine,” Russell said. “The friendship is based on the fact that when we think about each other, we never think about what he can do for me, but what I can do for him, and if I am able to do anything for him. That’s the way friendships are built.”
Clay Bennett gave Oklahomans a rare glimpse into his personal life when he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. What stood out to them most about his induction was who he chose to present him. He went with NBA legend Bill Russell. Bennett didn’t choose the Hall of Fame center just to show off. He did it for the simplest of reasons. Russell is a friend. “I have had a very nice relationship with Bill,” Bennett said. “I thought it might be fun to bring him to Oklahoma and let others hear and enjoy him as I have. He was very gracious to accept. I am honored he would be here.”
30 Jul 13