Bill Russell is finally immortalized in bronze in Boston. The honor is long overdue.
With the Celtics off to an 0-4 start to the season and even the most dedicated fans looking forward eagerly to next June’s NBA draft, it’s a perfect opportunity to take some time to appreciate Russell, the greatest winner in North American professional sports. His 13 championships in 15 years — counting his two NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco — is unmatched, and no one in NBA history can match his 11 rings.
Russell was not always so beloved in Boston, though, which is partly why it took so long to build the statue that was unveiled Friday at City Hall. At a time when sports stars were becoming outspoken on social issues in the 1960s, Russell was even more outspoken than most. That did not win him many friends, but as he made clear in his speech on Friday, he has only ever been concerned about pleasing a small number of people he considers friends.
The rest can take a hike.
NESN.com NBA editor Ben Watanabe and NESN Sports Today anchor Adam Pellerin met up to talk about Russell’s impact on the game, society and the city of Boston. They also touched briefly on the Celtics’ horrendous start, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Listen to the podcast below.
Photo via Twitter/@BenjeeBallgame