Bill Russell Rumors
A confluence of interests made the game happen. The Lakers were losing money in Minneapolis and were eager to sample a West Coast city. San Franciscans wanted to prove that the Cow Palace (technically in Daly City) could attract an NBA-sized crowd, and the powerhouse Celtics were an ideal opponent with two former University of San Francisco stars: Bill Russell and K.C. Jones.
Jared Weiss: Brad Stevens on Bill Russell, who just turned 87: “He is everything you want to be represented by. When you think about his impact on and off the court, he’s in very rarified air and I can’t think of a better representative of our sport and the Celtics.”
Tim Reynolds: Bill Russell has become the latest NBA legend to announce he’s been vaccinated for COVID-19. “This is one shot I won’t block,” the 11-time NBA champion said, adding “No Celtics were harmed during my shot.” The ring GOAT speaks here: youtu.be/CfOG24IkuCo (ps: his Kobe hat!)
It was April 5, 1968, the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the Lorraine Motel balcony in Memphis, when Oscar Robertson, head of the National Basketball Players Association, picked up the phone. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between Bill Russell’s Celtics and Wilt Chamberlain’s Sixers was scheduled for that night in Philadelphia. And while there were talks among players on those teams about not playing, the game went on as planned. Still, Robertson wanted to recognize King with a tribute. Some of his contemporaries had met the minister; others attended speeches as they grew more politically active in the ’60s. So Robertson spoke with Larry Fleisher, the union’s counsel, and then started dialing the phone number of each team’s player representative to talk about what could be done to contribute to King’s cause.
Bill Russell: I just received a call letting me know my x-roommate/teammate & most of all friend the great KC Jones passed this morning. Prayers to his family. We have been friends for almost 60yrs, this our last photo together. Friends for life #2020Usuck! #RIP @NBA @celtics
Where K.C. Jones went, winning was sure to follow. K.C. – his given name – was a twelve-time NBA champion as player and coach, a two-time NCAA champion, and a Gold medal-winning Olympian and Hall of Famer. In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones have more championship rings during their playing careers. K.C. along with Russell, Clyde Lovellette, Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner, Earvin “Magic “Johnson and Michael Jordan, are the only players in history to achieve basketball’s “Triple Crown” – winning an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal. His number 25 has hung from the rafters since 1967.