Thursday, October 28, 2010

CELTIC PRIDE


Russell is one of the most successful and decorated athletes in North American sports history. His awards and achievements include eleven NBA championships as a player with the Boston Celtics in 13 seasons (including two NBA championships as player/head coach), and he is credited with having raised defensive play in the NBA to a new level. By winning the 1956 NCAA Championship with USF and the 1957 NBA title with the Celtics, Russell became the first of only four players in basketball history to win an NCAA championship and an NBA Championship back-to-back (the others being Henry Bibby, Magic Johnson, and Billy Thompson). In the interim, Russell collected an Olympic gold medal in 1956. His stint as coach of the Celtics was also of historical significance, as he became the first black head coach in major U.S. professional sports when he succeeded Red Auerbach.
(en.wikipedia.org)


Bill Russell Game 7, 1962 Finals
Photo: AP
From sportsillustrated.cnn.com


Bill Russell and Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach, 1967
Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
From From nba.com


His many individual accolades were well deserved, but they were only products of Russell's philosophy of team play. His greatest accomplishment was bringing the storied Celtics 11 championships in his 13 seasons. Until the ascent of Michael Jordan in the 1980s, Russell was acclaimed by many as the greatest player in the history of the NBA.
William Felton Russell was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. His family moved cross-country to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Bill attended McClymonds High School in Oakland. He was an awkward, unremarkable center on McClymonds's basketball team, but his size earned him a scholarship to play at the University of San Francisco, where he blossomed.
Russell grew to be a shade over 6-9, and he teamed with guard K. C. Jones to lead the Dons to 56 consecutive victories and NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956 (although Jones missed four games of the 1956 tournament because his eligibility had expired). Russell was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1955.
(nba.com )
Russell averaged 20.7 points and 20.3 rebounds in his three-year varsity career. By his senior season he had matured into a dominant force who could control a game at the defensive end. With the 1956 NBA Draft approaching, Boston Celtics Coach and General Manager Red Auerbach was eager to add Russell to his lineup. Auerbach had built a high-scoring offensive machine around guards Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman and undersized center Ed Macauley, but he hadn't been able to muster the defense and rebounding needed to transform the Celtics into a championship-caliber club. Russell, Auerbach felt, was the missing piece to the puzzle.
(nba.com )


1957-1958 NBA Eastern Division Champion Boston Celtics
From mearsonlineauctions.com


1960 World Champion Boston Celtics
From mearsonlineauctions.com


1961 World Champion Boston Celtics
Standing: Buddy LeRoux (Manager), Tom Sanders, Tom Heinsohn,
Gene Conley, Bill Russell, Gene Guarilla, Jim Loscutoff, Sam Jones
Seated: K.C. Jones, Bob Cousy, Red Auerbach (coach),
Walter A. Brown (president), Bill Sharman, Frank Ramsey
From d21c.com


Russell is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history. Listed as between 6'9" (2.06 m) and 6'10" (2.08 m), Russell's shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' success. He also inspired his teammates to elevate their own defensive play. Russell was equally notable for his rebounding abilities. He is one of just two NBA players (the other being prominent rival Wilt Chamberlain) to have grabbed more than fifty rebounds in a game.
(en.wikipedia.org)


Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell
Source Wilt Chamberlain Bill Russell
New York World-Telegram & The Sun staff photographer
From en.wikipedia.org


For statistical purposes only, Chamberlain is number one all time with 23,924 rebounds in 1045 games and Bill Russell is second with 21,620 rebounds in 963 games. Wilt averaged 22.9 in his career, Russell averaged 22.5. They both deserve the top spot. Both men are the only players in history with more than 20,000 rebounds in their career and a career average of more than 20 rebounds per game. The closest is Bob Petit with 16.9. Both represent an age in basketball when a center stood beneath the basket and no one got near him, no one could compete with him, with them. Close friends throughout their career until the 1969 NBA Finals, when Russell accused Chamberlain of copping out of a game in the face of a defeat, and Chamberlain later called Russell a backstabber. The two didn’t speak for more than 20 years after that. Chamberlain has the record for most rebounds in a game, 55, while Russell is second with 53, the only two men to grab more than 50 rebounds in one game. The list goes on and on… but the bottom line is, these two had one of the best individual rivalries in the history of the NBA and maybe team sports. Chamberlain maybe had a better stat line, but Russell had the titles. Chamberlain had two NBA titles, Russell had eleven. Russell was a five time MVP, Chamberlain was a four time MVP. Chamberlain did win more rebounding titles – he led the league in rebounding 11 times, while Russell led the league five times. Russell’s best was 24.7 in 1964, Chamberlain’s best was in 1961 – 27.2 rebounds per game.
(sportige.com)


Bill Russell poses for a portrait
Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
From From nba.com


Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell
Photographer Dick Raphael
From grassrootswritersguild.wordpress.com


Russell's greatest adversary, Wilt Chamberlain, entered the NBA and joined the Philadelphia Warriors for the 1959-60 season, setting up a decade-long rivalry. The debate over who was the greater player would last even longer. Chamberlain put up incredible numbers during the period in which the two went head to head, but Russell helped the Celtics hang nine NBA championship flags in the Garden in his first 10 seasons.
As Celtics player Don Nelson told the Boston Herald, "There are two types of superstars. One makes himself look good at the expense of the other guys on the floor. But there's another type who makes the players around him look better than they are, and that's the type Russell was."
What became clear, both during the 1959-60 season and over the next several years, was that basketball was a team game. As Russell later wrote: "To me, one of the most beautiful things to see is a group of men coordinating their efforts toward a common goal, alternately subordinating and asserting themselves to achieve real teamwork in action. I tried to do that, we all tried to do that, on the Celtics. I think we succeeded."
(nba.com )


Bill Russell poses for a 1970s photo
Boston, Massachusetts
Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
From From nba.com


Russell was revolutionizing the game in ways that were clearly understood, even if they weren't measured. His ability to leave his man and slide over to cover an opponent driving to the hoop was startling. He was unmatched at swooping across the lane like a big bird to block and alter shots. The rest of the Celtics defenders began to funnel their men toward Russell and become more daring with their perimeter defense, knowing that he was looming behind.
All of this played mind games with opposing shooters near the basket and had a disrupting effect as they began to sense Russell's imposing presence. Furthermore, other centers started to model their own defensive play after Russell's, and while they might not have been as skillful at it, it changed the way the game was played. Interestingly, Russell's style of play also rejuvenated Boston's offense. Many of the Celtics' points now came when Russell plucked a defensive rebound and fired an outlet pass to Bob Cousy, who would start Boston's vaunted and deadly fast break.
(nba.com )


Bill Russell through the Years
Ken Regan/NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Walter Iooss Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
NBA Photos
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Jesse D. Garranbrant/NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Bill Russell congratulates Doc Rivers
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell Through the Years
Bill Russell has a chat with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Brian Babineau/Getty Images
From nba.com


Bill Russell in Boston for Ted Kennedy’s funeral
Photo Reuters
From lejdd.fr


Bill Russell
11 NBA championship rings
Sports Museum in Boston, 1996
From soulofamerica.com


NBA Legend Bill Russell & MVP Michael Jordan
Chicago, Illinois, May 18, 1998
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
From From nba.com

BEST RESUMES IN SPORTS:
Born: Monroe, Louisiana
Career objective: To have a huge impact on the game of basketball in the 50's and 60's by winning the most NBA Championships as both a player and a coach.
Employer: Boston Celtics (1956-1969)
Work experience: Won 11 NBA Championships with the Celtics (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969)
NCAA Championship with University of San Francisco (1955, 1956)
Won Olympic Gold with Team USA (1956)
Notable achievements: #16 jersey retired by the Boston Celtics (1972)
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame (1975)
NBA All-Star 12 times
Career stats: 14,522 points, 4,100 assists, and 21,620 rebounds
Awards: Named NBA MVP (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965)
References: Red Auerbach, Wilt Chamberlain
(sports.ca.msn.com)


1 comment:

Ticketwood said...

Its time to believe in the Boston Celtics, & believe in them one more time. The Celtics have the ability to play a variety of styles, Plus Boston Celtics Tickets get in demand by fans . Most of the attention (rightfully so) this offseason has been on the Boston Celtics. they have been really lucky.