Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Bill Russell Book!

As regular readers of The Garlic are aware of, we have written, from time-to-time, about the Boston Celtics, (you can read those post HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) having spent, virtually my entire childhood immersed in the beginning era of "Celtic Pride" (that moniker didn't come until the 1980's, once the league got hip to marketing), attending our first game, a year after Bob Cousey retired, in 1964 (December 12th, against the, then, Baltimore Bullets).

We saw many of the greats, whose retired numbers hang from the rafters - Bill Sharman, Tommy Heinsohn, Frank Ramsey, Sam and K.C. Jones, John Havlicek (click the link, to hear Johnny Most, and "Havlicek Stole The Ball!), Tom Sanders (and a bevy more ... Larry Siegfried, Emmette Bryant, Bailey Howell, Don Nelson, et all)

And, of course, William Felton Russell, of whom, there is no bigger, no larger, no more beloved hero.

Well, news burst out that Bill Russell has a new book hitting the shelves - "Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend" (his previous books were "Go Up For Glory", "Second Wind", and "Russell Rules")

From The Boston Globe;

The book details his friendship with Red Auerbach, which spanned 50 years.

"I wanted to honor him and his two daughters," says Russell. "We came from two tribes. We didn't have to prove anything to anybody."

Russell was an outspoken civil rights advocate who grew up with the pain of segregation. His father and grandfather taught him to stick up for himself. He did just that during his very first NBA game in 1956.

Despite having an NCAA championship and Olympic gold medal to his credit, Russell wasn't getting the ball. Auerbach called a timeout, and Russell stayed outside of the huddle.

"I wasn't [angry]," he says. "I was assessing the situation. We had only three guys shoot the ball. I knew then that's no way to win."

Russell told Auerbach that he was the center and the ball should go through him, down low, so he could get rebounds. Auerbach listened and designed plays for Russell. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Russell retired from the Celtics in 1969, a few months after the team (all-Russell-led) winning their 11th championship in 13-years.

In a Sports Illustrated article is where Russell announced it, citing, among other things, that even though he had a year left on a lucrative (for that period of time) contract ($200,000), he couldn't continue to play, as he always played for fun, the competition, and to continue playing for just the money would make him a mercenary.

They don't make'em like that anymore.

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