At the conclusion of an extended interview with NBA.com, Russell was asked which coaches he admires today. The question was posed in the context of asking about NBA coaches, with Russell's longtime coach Red Auerbach as an example. But the 11-time NBA champion (who won two of those titles as player-coach of the Celtics) looked to another league for inspiration.
"In football, Bill Belichick's attitude is, win with what you have," Russell told John Hareas. "The coaches I watch over the season are the ones who maximize the most with what they [have]. To me, that's a criteria."
Russell also mentioned Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks as NBA coaches he respected, and inserted a little dig at the absurdity of coaching awards. Auerbach was never named NBA Coach of the Year, despite leading the Celtics to nine championships, until his final season. And in that case, the writers merely voted for Auerbach as a going-away present, Russell noted.
For what it is worth, Belichick has won The Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award three times, in 2003, 2007 and 2010 — but not for the 2001 season, when he led the underdog Patriots to an upset of the powerhouse Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Like Russell said, those awards are bogus.
Russell photo via Flickr/Scott Eisen Photography
Belichick photo via Flickr/DGA Productions