We live in a debate culture, which is inherently less for this or that, who was the best, the most, the least, the greatest. Television, social media or online, we have a culture of decibels, where people often do not learn as an element of their entertainment. Ears are not for hearing. They are for glasses.
Within this fighting culture, where logic and quantity pass for wisdom and understanding, Boston Celtics great Bill Russell dies at a time when even professionals – or, especially Pros – are compensated for their ability to imitate fan biases. Over the past several weeks, former NBA sharpshooter and ESPN analyst JJ Redick Said Bob Cousy, in their days, was being guarded by “plumbers and firemen”. golden state power forward Drummond Green He said he didn’t see how Michael Jordan’s 1998 Chicago Bulls could match His 2017 Warriors, Bob Cousy, age 93, and Jerry West, 84, defended their time by firing back, with Cousy jokingly recounting how, if true, the NBA should have. best plumber and fireman around, West more pungent, reminiscent of Reddick He was just a one-dimensional player who was never a star.
Redick drowned the old-timers. The people of old times drowned back. This is how we communicate.
A disadvantage of this particular brand of noise is the professional respect, the lack of care for the careers of previous generations, their hardships and the conditions favoring clapbacks. This is not just to attract attention but a deliberate conviction. With Russell’s death will come a truce, a temporary reverence in place of rhetoric, a quiet appreciation for his dignity and immense achievements, and the bitter passage of time. Kusi is the only player left from the Celtics’ first championship team in 1957. Bill Sharman is gone. So, too, is Tommy Heinsohn, and only a few survive – Don Chaney, Don Nelson, Emmett Bryant, for example – his last in 1969.
The black community in Boston will mourn its champion: A player and the community are grateful for each other in hostile territory. Russell City was the entry point for black people to adopt Celtics, an obscure legacy from the racism of school segregation in the 1970s and the polarizing Larry Bird era of the 1980s, where the Celtics were the epitome of whiteness. Dennis Johnson, who was drafted by Russell with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1977, died in 2007. Joe Jo White in 2018. Casey Jones passed away in 2020. Sam Jones passed away in 2021.
There should be an enduring place of respect, understanding, and respect in our discourse, but it will be only hours before professionals and amateurs alike go back to making the list and fighting over them. The debate would resume and Russell would be fuzzy as he averaged only 15.1 points per game in his career and shot only 44% from the floor, and with so many missed shots, of course he averaged 22.5 rebounds. Even Russell’s greatest on-court achievement of winning 11 NBA titles in his 13-year career is constantly threatened by criticism, there were only eight NBA teams when Russell was winning all those championships, and thus they were somehow less legitimate Real Today’s championship because the postseason was not as long as it is today.
What makes these attempts to mitigate the failure is Russell himself, because when the noise subsides and listening begins, what numbers and metrics is the shameful uselessness of estimating Bill Russell without confronting the central fact of his life. : He was born a black man in the United States of America in 1934. It’s a simple and basic trait possessed by millions, thousands of professionals, and dozens of legends – but Russell was still different because of his reluctance not to let his athletic good fortune detract from his. life as a man. America wanted it to make them feel about their city, their team, their moments with their victory. they wanted their achievements to be celebrated their conditions, refusing to appreciate His. He didn’t let them happen.
He was part of a legacy of incredible athletes in Oakland, Calif., when racism pressured his parents to leave his birthplace of Monroe, Louisiana, away from his familiarity and opportunity. He and Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson were classmates at McLemonds High School in West Oakland, the “School of Champions”—the school incredibly also of Kurt Flood and Wada Pinson, themselves Baseball All-Stars, but only because West Oakland was 1940. In the 1960s the part of the city where the white city leaders forced the overwhelming majority of black people to live.
When Russell arrived in Boston, which is widely regarded as the most racist city In the US, they did so simply because neither the St. Louis Hawks ownership nor its white fan base wanted a star black player to be their face – even the great Bill Russell, who won the team at the 1956 Olympics. Won gold medal for USA. Games in Melbourne, Australia. So the Hawks traded Russell, who had made his country proud, in Boston for two white players, Ed McAulley and Cliff Hagen.
Russell dominated the NBA, forming a new NBA – and a new Boston Celtics team. The Celtics had never reached the NBA Finals before Russell. The team was coached by Rad Auerbach and his star, Cousy, who, by virtue of being the local college (Holy Cross) hero, leader, but could not accept – as most great players cannot – that he should be done. Was accepted by a better partner. Cousy won six titles with Russell, but none without him. Auerbach won nine titles as a coach, but none without him as coach.
The city, reacting to the greatness of the Celtics, failed to attract attendance by disclosing the racial double standards of bringing up white stars, humiliating Russell and appreciating only his black stars whenever possible. . Russell won two college championships at the University of San Francisco, uncomfortable with America’s racial order. He won a gold medal for a country whose black children needed National Guard protection to go to school in Little Rock, Arkansas, several months later. Later that season, in 1957, Russell would win the NBA title for a city whose racial disparities were so apparent that by 1974, Boston would be the same as the Little Rock of 16 years earlier—and Boston, at least reputedly, Not really recovered. Each stage of his professional career was defined by American racism, and for years his response was that Russell was too bitter, unable to recover from the same humiliation that millions of black people suffered every day. He was defined for years, not by what his homeland did to him, but by why he didn’t accept it better.
Sports are full of empty clichés that give the everyday lives of talented athletes a superhero glow. Iron sharpens iron, it is said. Russell’s response to his callhouse was Titanic winning by rate. He refused to participate in the pomp, turning the sly into a dominion, and thus, there could be no exaggeration, no metrics, no numbers, no comparison of generations or eras to be attributed to living life. especially that of the furiously pronounced and independent Russell as Bill. There’s no metric to place value on winning, going 21-0 in your final two years of college, the Olympics, and the winner-take-all game in the NBA, when your Massachusetts home is burgled and feces. blemishes from – as Russell once had infamously. For all his victories, perhaps his greatest victory was making that separation between man and athletic deed impossible, making it impossible to even see America without seeing it. Russell went on to win eight titles in a row, beating the Lakers – always beat them, never losing to them in the finals – but took Birmingham and Selma and MLK with him. It was his deal, and it was irreversible – you can’t celebrate the Celtics beating 76 people without acknowledging the unequal treatment of him and his people. Russell made sure that one could not be evaluated without the other – he simply did not exist for the public’s amusement, and by evaluating him in detail could not be in good consciousness without the public seeing itself. For decades, Russell’s prevailing legend was that he was steeped in the bitterness of his time, but this was not quite true. He was freed after refusing to play along. He did not attend the Celtics final championship parade in 1969, even though he was the coach, and neither was his own Hall of Fame inductee. He was far from the city of his fame – and yet constantly present.
When he wanted to be seen, he was — and during the last 15 years of his life he stood out as a powerful onlooker, equal parts signature laugh and afar. The NBA renamed the Finals MVP Trophy after him. 2008 The Celtics surrounded them like little kids. He was the living link to the birth of the sport—and the conscience of activism, from Jackie Robinson to Colin Kaepernick—for more than half a century. When he didn’t want to be seen, he wasn’t. Since 2013, there is now a Bill Russell statue, as are an Auerbach and a bird (at least his shoes), a Williams and an Orr.
The days to come would be filled with tributes and reductive debates to Russell because, in the end, he was irreducible. Eleven Championships. Eight straight titles. Standing steadfastly to its principles, regardless of the traditionally high cost, and deciding that there was no cost to extricate oneself from the expectation of performance without respect. It was not Bill Russell who was trapped, but his former surroundings, his city, and his country were forced to respond with his behavior and attitude, to answer the question of why his greatest champion was often his didn’t want to do anything with him. Even Coozie, decades later, more than half a century late, wanted to reconcile his early treatment of Russell with, at the time, Boston days. He wrote a letter to Russell. Russell never replied. Russell was there long before that. That was yesterday. Coozie may still suffer for everything she said or didn’t do, but Bill Russell was already free.