Basketball’s Greatest Player Passes Away

You haven’t seen any news of Michael Jordan or that other guy currently playing in the NBA passing away, have you?

Well, it’s because they are both very much alive and well.

I wrote that headline to GRAB YOUR ATTENTION.

Even if you only know that a basketball is round …

You know who Jordan and that other guy are because of the many debates of who’s the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).

On July 31, one of basketball's greatest players Bill Russell died at age 88

Since 1966, in my first grade, basketball has always been my favorite sport. Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics was my favorite player.

Most basketball fans know Michael Jordan failed to make his high school basketball team.

Many of those same fans do not know Bill Russell failed to make his basketball team in junior high and as a freshman in high school. He continued to practice and made the junior varsity squad as a sophomore, but just barely.

He eventually made the varsity team as a junior but was forced to share the team’s fifteenth uniform with another player. With consistent practice and hard work, he made the starting line-up as a senior and helped his team win the California High School State Championship.

He received a basketball scholarship from the University of San Francisco Dons. Russell led the Dons to two consecutive NCAA Championships.

In 1956, he was the second player chosen overall in the NBA draft by the St Louis Hawks in and was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics.

Instead of playing a full season as a rookie, Russell chose to miss a month to be a captain of the 1956 U. S. Olympic basketball team, which had been his childhood dream. Russell captained the United States and brought home the Gold Medal.

This tells you about his value system. More on that shortly as Bill Russell was much more than a great basketball player. Russell’s 13-year NBA career included five-time Most Valuable Player Award, twelve-time All-Star, and eleven Championship titles as a Boston Celtic. His last two titles as the first Black Head Coach in NBA history, while still playing for the Celtics.

He was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Today he is considered by many, as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Bill Russell is one of the first superstars in the NBA to be a Black man that competed in the face of racism and even had an FBI file open on him in the same vein as other civil rights leaders.

Boston, like the deep south, and Russell’s hometown for 13 years while he played for the Celtics is widely known as a huge racist community in Russell’s playing days.

Netflix released a terrific documentary on the life and legacy of NBA great and civil rights icon Bill Russell. I really enjoyed it. Great leaders are worth studying.

In that amazing career as a player, coach, and civil rights leader Bill Russell, naturally, produced some amazing quotes.

10 Best Quotes by Bill Russell

1. “To love someone is nothing, to be loved by someone is something, to love someone who loves you is everything.”
2. “Most people have a harder time letting themselves love than finding someone to love them.”
3. “Durability is part of what makes a great athlete.”
4. “I don’t have very many regrets, not because I lived a perfect life, but because life is a bunch of rolling hills, not mountains, or speed bumps instead of stop signs, and so you come to a situation and it’s neither good or bad. It just is, and what it means to you is what’s your take on it. But the second part of the equation is what are you going to do about it. A lot of times I’m completely wrong, but all you do is back up and start over.”
5. “The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”
6. “Friendship is a full-time job.”
7. “My most prized possession was my library card from the Oakland Public Library.”
8. “I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with a lot of really smart people. The thing that strikes me most about them is how they continue to explore and learn every day. I have tried to apply that approach in my modest career as well.”
9. “The most important thing to me is the friends that I’ve made.”
10.“If you really have integrity, there are very few people who can insult you, or honor you.”