BILLIONhis weekend, NBA legend Bill Russell’s The family announced that Bill had passed away at the age of 88. Russell won eleven titles in thirteen seasons as an NBA player, two being the first black coach in professional sports. major U.S. major, five MVPs, two NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco, a program that has never been done before and has done nothing since, two NCAA Tournament Player of the Year awards and a medal Olympic gold medal.
Russell manages all of this without being a good attacking player. He’s a prolific goalscorer and pitcher, and a good fouling shooter, but he’s been tough and cold in defence. He gobbles every shot that comes in the paint, grabs rebounds with obscene proportions – he remains the league’s second all-time top bouncer, behind lifelong freestyle nemesis Wilt Chamberlain – and only blew up the attack plot of his opponent, who stood stunned and defeated with his iron-willed face. Russell is so obsessed with winning that he will vomiting before every very intense match.
Calling Russell one of the greatest basketball players to ever live feels, somehow, like you’re shorting him. There were a handful of players with the physical and tactical mindset that changed the way the game was played forever. George Mikan, in the 50s, invented the big man attack game as we know it. Michael Jordan was the first super sportsman to complete the game. Steph Curry distorts the size of the pitch, redefining the “hit value”.
Russell innovated all of them. Playing the game in center, standing 6 foot 10 but sporting a crazy 7 foot 4 wingspan, he essentially created the basketball defense as we know it: protect the paintwork at all costs, blow up matches with your feet and hands, get the other team to do something truly extraordinary to beat you after possession. Without Russell and his descendants patrolling the paint, there would be no need to create a parachuteone Eurostepone baseline. You won’t need giant, multi-phase athletes to hit the belt at a million miles per hour otherwise there is a cunning brick wall waiting for you there. In a way, every solution criminals have come up with over the years has been an attempt to subvert the presence of Bill Russell.
Russell is also a activist and a civil rights crusader, at a time when that was far more dangerous than it is now. He led a Celtics boycott against apartheid in 1961, attended March in Washington, stood with Ali when he was blackballed after resisting the draft, and ran basketball camps synthesis in the Deep South. Heck, here’s an 80-year-old man, kneeling before the silent protest against police brutality that effectively ended Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career.
And then there’s Boston. Bill Russell was the greatest athlete in the history of sports Boston a mile out of the country, however, few men were mocked by the city’s notorious racism during his time in the trade. sold there. He spoke out in favor of school integration in Boston, capital of anti-violence. Everyone will trash his house and spray racist paint on its walls. He didn’t give autographs, because, I mean, why would he, and this is a pretense for every lowly sentiment you can imagine — including from the FBI, who has a record. A profile of Russell called him “An arrogant Negro who refuses to sign For white children. “
White people’s views on the civil rights movement often emphasize “quiet dignity,” suffering in silence, all that crap. Bill Russell did not do this. When his number was retired by the Celtics, he insisted that the ceremony be done in an empty arena so he wouldn’t have to. share his big moment with the vibrant masses of a city that treats him and his family like second-class citizens. In The Second Wind: Memoirs of a Man with Opinions, his excellent autobiography (and didn’t print, for some reason), in 1979 he unloaded the city: “Boston itself was a flea market of racism,” he wrote. . “It has all varieties, old and new, and in their unique form. The city has corrupt racists, city councils, brick-throwing racists, send-’em-back-Africa, and in college districts extreme racists spoof… Apart from that, I like the city. “Constitutionally, Russell is incapable of belittling anyone. In other words, a great man of history.
A few years ago, the NBA named the league’s Finals MVP award after Russell. Russell himself doesn’t have any titles because, the year he won his last title, 1969, was his final year in the NBA, and the team chose to give the trophy to… Jerry West, who played. for the losing team. That same year, the league chose to feature the West on their logo, front and center in the league’s branding, though, Bill Russell spent the previous decade kicking West’s ass in the Finals, year after year. During Russell’s 13-year career, Russell brilliantly beat West in the NBA Finals six times, in increasingly fun and complex ways. The year West got the unfortunate Finals MVP, Laker got the services of Wilt Chamberlain, the best player on either team to ever beat Russell in the playoff series, and he still lost.
“That same year, the league opted to feature the West on their logo, front and center in the league’s branding, though, Bill Russell had spent the previous decade kicking West in the ass during the Finals. end, year after year.“
In West by West: My Charmed, My Torred LifeWest’s autobiography is much less essential, Jerry goes on to tell of the personal anguish and suffering he has experienced as a result of these losses. He also unwittingly paints a portrait of himself as a guy living in the ’60s, doing whatever anyone tells him to do, out of pure respect for authority. He claims that he admires Bill Bradley for not taking advantage of promotional opportunities not offered to his Black teammates, but he continues to do swimsuit commercials anyway. He talked about admiring Barack Obama, despite never giving him a red cent while donating freely to George W. Bush.
You know they call this guy “Mr. Clutch,” even though he beat in the Finals on seven separate occasions before winning his only NBA title as a player? After a career filled with failure and despair, he went straight into the Lakers’ offices, where he whined and lamented how everyone was mean to him while every sports journalist in America declared him a genius. . Those same opportunities were out of reach for Russell, the first Black coach in NBA history and the first Black coach to win an NBA title, because Russell wasn’t a white guy. respectable, or kiss the ring of power every morning and cry about it. Every night.
In 2011, President Obama awarded Russell the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his career in hurdles and a lifetime of dedication to the cause of civil rights for all. I say well deserved. Then time passed. In 2016, you may recall, Donald Trump, a reality TV star, real estate agent and alleged serial sex predator, was elected president for the following reasons. seems unclear to this day. During his campaign, Trump was subjected to severe racism — and as a result, the largely black NBA teams that Russell fought for fifty years ago, chose not to appear. at the White House after winning the NBA championship, by standard practice for decades. This annoys Trump, a strange little man obsessed with celebrity. In 2019, Trump sought to placate his bruised ego by awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jerry West, whose non-basketball achievements are primarily linked to his elective golf club. Now, West can be a nice guy and say, no thanks, The black men who built the league where I make a living seem to consider doing photo activities with you demeaning, and I will respect their place as a member of the NBA community. It’s not over yet!
Jerry West appears on the logo because he’s the type of person the NBA wants their product to stand for: a guy who closes the door and gets his check, entertains fans without complications, does whatever. what the rich he told him and took every act of aggression he had and directed it entirely at himself instead of at the systems of crushing and destroying the world. Jerry may have been a loser, but he was of them loser — an easy, uncomplicated star who did what he was told and printed money for the product. It’s time to realize that this isn’t good enough for the tournament or for the world it helped create. The NBA should honor Russell, placing him right where he belongs in the history of the game: in the middle, making one of 21,620 rebounds of his career, between a red and blue band.