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  1. #1
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    Amazing Bill Russel SI interview from 1963

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...95/1/index.htm

    On defense:

    "Basketball is a game that involves a great deal of psychology. The psychology in defense is not blocking a shot or stealing a pass or getting the ball away. The psychology is to make the offensive team deviate from their normal habits. This is a game of habits, and the player with the most consistent habits is the best. What I try to do on defense is to make the offensive man do not what he wants but what I want. If I'm back on defense and three guys are coming at me, I've got to do something to worry all three. First I must make them slow up or stop. Then I must force them to make a bad pass and take a bad shot and, finally, I must try to block the shot. Say the guy in the middle has the ball and I want the guy on the left to take the shot. I give the guy with the ball enough motion to make him stop. Then I step toward the man on the right, inviting a pass to the man on the left; but, at the same time, I'm ready to move, if not on my way, to the guy on the left. I'm giving away all my secrets."

    "What Russell really does," says teammate Tommy Heinsohn, "is demoralize. The other players are afraid to take their normal shots. Instead, they're looking to see what Russell will do." As Bill Bridges of the St. Louis Hawks said recently, " Russell told me I better bring pepper and salt to the next game. He told me I was going to eat basketballs." Indeed, the ball has come to be known by the pros as a Wilson burger, after its manufacturer.

    "In my modest opinion," says Russell, who is not a particularly good shooter, "shooting is of relatively little importance in a player's overall game. Almost all of us in the NBA are All-Americas. We became All-Americas by averaging 20 points or more a game, so by the layman's standards all of us can shoot. It's the other phases of the game that make the difference. If you're going to score 15 and let your man score 20 you're a deficit. If your value to the team is strictly as a shooter, you are of very little value. Offense is the first thing you learn as a kid in any sport: catch a pass, dribble, bat, shoot. You learn the offensive aspects of a game long before you learn there even are defensive aspects. These are the skills you come by naturally. Defense is hard work because it's unnatural.

    "Defense is a science," Russell says, "not a helter-skelter thing you just luck into. Every move has six or seven years of work behind it. In basketball your body gets to do things it couldn't do in normal circumstances. You take abnormal steps, you have to run backward almost as fast as you can run forward. On defense you must never cross your legs while running, and that's the most natural thing to do when changing direction. Instead, you try to glide like a crab. You have to fight the natural tendencies and do things naturally that aren't natural.

    "In rebounding, position is the key. No two objects can occupy the same place at the same time. Seventy-five percent of the rebounds are taken below the height of the rim, so timing is important, because almost everyone in the league can reach the top of the rim. A really important part of rebounding is being able to jump up more than once. You have to keep trying for that ball. Sometimes you jump four or five times before you can get your hands on it. I used to practice jumping over and over again. When I was 6 feet 2, I could jump to the top of the rim 35 times, over and over.
    On his beard:
    Russell's scraggly beard is a telling indication of the man. Not only is Russell nearly 6 feet 10 and black—circumstances, obviously, over which he has no control—but he has deliberately set himself further apart by being one of the few professional athletes to wear a beard. Ask him why he grew it and he will reply in time, if he feels like it: "I've thought about it, and I've thought about it. Why did I wear the beard, why do I? It's part of this thing—I've always fought so hard to be different and I am different without even trying, and maybe it's just my own little revolution. It just isn't done in polite circles, in a sense. But I do think it's part of my personality. When I first joined the Celtics I shaved the beard off. I did it on my own. It was none of their business, and if I had valued their opinion I would have asked them. I made a concession to conformity at that time. Then I grew it back. After we won the first championship I let Heinsohn shave it off, and then I grew it back again. It was a very childish thing, in the sense of defiance. I wear it now to let people know I am an individual. I do think for myself, and I'm very opinionated. Contrary to popular belief, I'm a living, thinking, breathing human being."
    On basketball:

    "We're a bunch of grown men playing a child's game. It's a child's game we've made into a man's game by complicating it. Silly, isn't it? We entertain people for x number of hours during the winter. They may talk about it for a few minutes, maybe an hour; then it's forgotten. Is this a contribution? No. Analyze it—it's a silly game. I'm also a silly man because I enjoy it. I enjoy baseball, too. Perhaps I'm a little dull."
    and this is only from first 1.5 pages haha
    Last edited by JerseyPalahniuk; 12-05-2012 at 05:14 PM.
    I survived Stephon Marbury's inability
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    I survived them all leaving, a 12-70 season and not getting the #1 pick
    Mikhail Prokhorov buys the Nets
    I survived Melodrama
    Deron Williams traded here
    I survived 248 games missed due to injury, 5 d-league call-ups, 14 different lineups in ONE season, Johan Petro
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    THE Offseason - Success TBD

  2. #2
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    His athletic family:
    "My brother used to run track. Did the 100 in 10.2, 10.4—that's not bad—and my father came out one day and raced him with work shoes on. My brother says he won, and my father says he won, and I say it was a dead heat. It's not important. The important thing was that my father got in the race. I remember this field in Louisiana where the grass grew very tall. Sometimes we'd all play hide and seek—the four of us—in that field. When it was time to go in, my father would pick me up with one arm, pick up my brother with the other arm, my mother got on his back, and he ran us all the way home. Everybody had a great time...."
    Blossoming overnight and how athletic he was (would still dominate today):
    In fact, in McClymonds High in Oakland, he was not even third-string junior varsity. McClymonds won the league championship, but Russell did not even make third team all-league, and there were but six teams in the league. It was due only to the divination of Hal De Julio, who played on the University of San Francisco team that won the National Invitation Tournament in 1949, that Russell got an athletic scholarship at USF; his solitary offer. At USF Russell blossomed overnight; he was twice an All-America and led his team to 55 straight victories and two NCAA championships. In 1956, at Melbourne, Russell was a standout on the undefeated U.S. Olympic team.

    Russell also excelled at track and field. At USF he ran the 440 in 49.5 and high-jumped 6 feet 9� but, curiously, the only reason he went out for the sport was to get a varsity letter as a freshman; in basketball he had to settle for a freshman numeral
    On quitting basketball (AFRAID OF PLANES Royce):
    Although Russell is just now entering his prime as a player, he often ponders quitting basketball. "When I think about it," he says, "there are a lot of things to consider, but it never has anything to do with quitting on top. First of all, I'm very much afraid of airplanes. Secondly, the game takes a lot out of me. I call it a nine-hour game, two hours getting mentally prepared, two hours for the game itself and five hours before I get to sleep. Sometimes, even then, I can't get to sleep. I feel that if I don't have a good game we will probably lose, and it will be my fault. During the playoffs it's a 16-hour game.
    On getting bored playing:
    One of the saddest things that has happened to me," Russell said the other day, "is that in basketball so many good things have happened to me it's hard to get a real thrill any more. You know what I get excited about now?—when my kids say funny things or I get two new speakers for my stereo, although I had a perfectly good system before that.
    I survived Stephon Marbury's inability
    Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson era
    I survived them all leaving, a 12-70 season and not getting the #1 pick
    Mikhail Prokhorov buys the Nets
    I survived Melodrama
    Deron Williams traded here
    I survived 248 games missed due to injury, 5 d-league call-ups, 14 different lineups in ONE season, Johan Petro
    I survived Dwightmare
    I survived Avery & PJC's rotations
    THE Offseason - Success TBD

  3. #3
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    I wonder if one of my favorite quotes is in here, the part where he sums up statistics adding up to like 5% of the minutes played in game.

    "It’s absolutely ludicrous” (to judge players based on whether they’ve won a title.)

  4. #4
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    ewing

    Bill Russel is obsessed with letting you know how unselfish he is
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raps08-09 Champ View Post
    My dick is named 'Ewing'.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for sharing.
    "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."
    - Michael Jordan

    Thanks MJ-Bulls for the picture.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewing View Post
    Bill Russel is obsessed with letting you know how unselfish he is
    He didn't say anything about being unselfish in there, just talked about defense and his personal life.

  7. #7
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    Russell would not dominate today. He'd be a #4/5 D specialist/rebounder.

    Unless he got to play under the best Coach/GM and with a great team, he wouldn't be winning too many rings either.

    A classic case of the perfect guy for the perfect setting. If he had been an Atlana Hawk please tell me how many titles he has?


    6/27/09: “We expect [Rondo] to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it’s just unacceptable.”

    Some jerks never learn.....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    Russell would not dominate today. He'd be a #4/5 D specialist/rebounder.
    Could he dominate like he did in the 50's/60's? obviously not.

    However, I have 0 reason to believe he couldn't be a defensive anchor on a title team..esp with modern training.

    Unless he got to play under the best Coach/GM and with a great team, he wouldn't be winning too many rings either.
    Many of hall of famers have played in great situations and don't get credit taken away...

    * NEVER lost with HCA (The c's lost, but it was due to him being hurt/not playing)

    * In 12 yrs (again, not counting the finals in which he went out after game 2)...He failed to win it all ONE TIME. I don't care if there were 8-12 teams, thats damn impressive.

    Than consider how he walked out? Wininng it all ONCE AGAIN against a team that had wilt/baylor/west (Even if baylor was a shell of his former self)...never mind upsetting the prior 2 teams? When everyone thought that team was DONE? Thats Damn impressive.

    A classic case of the perfect guy for the perfect setting. If he had been an Atlana Hawk please tell me how many titles he has?
    How many sb's does montana/marino have if they switched roles? Funny how i always hear you rank montana in your elite/marino out of ur elite class without mentioning Montana had much better circumstances..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos_Sports4Life View Post
    Could he dominate like he did in the 50's/60's? obviously not.

    However, I have 0 reason to believe he couldn't be a defensive anchor on a title team..esp with modern training.



    Many of hall of famers have played in great situations and don't get credit taken away...

    * NEVER lost with HCA (The c's lost, but it was due to him being hurt/not playing)

    * In 12 yrs (again, not counting the finals in which he went out after game 2)...He failed to win it all ONE TIME. I don't care if there were 8-12 teams, thats damn impressive.

    Than consider how he walked out? Wininng it all ONCE AGAIN against a team that had wilt/baylor/west (Even if baylor was a shell of his former self)...never mind upsetting the prior 2 teams? When everyone thought that team was DONE? Thats Damn impressive.



    How many sb's does montana/marino have if they switched roles? Funny how i always hear you rank montana in your elite/marino out of ur elite class without mentioning Montana had much better circumstances..
    I saw the man play and you didn't. I played D1 as a 4/5 and Coached for 14 years - I do not believe you have.

    However, you have down rated Celtic HOF'ers like it was nothing to give more credit to your binky. It's a team game, and with a player that was almost all one way, I don't quite get how you talk all these titles without the very great teams and Coaches he played with and for.

    You've also bent and broken the meanings of stats to make your points about Russell, and denied the fact that the Celts were an excellent offensive team in the first half of the dynasty - off of one flimsy piece of logic that quite a few more experienced posters were not able to argue you off - and it wasn't because they were wrong.

    Russell couldn't be Russell now due to changes in the game itself, FA, Coaching emphasis, the effect of the media, the effect of elite athletes which Russell hardly ever saw in his time.

    No matter how hard you try as the #1 Russell homer on PSD, so few seem to take your word. Thankfully.


    6/27/09: “We expect [Rondo] to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it’s just unacceptable.”

    Some jerks never learn.....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagwell368 View Post
    I saw the man play and you didn't. I played D1 as a 4/5 and Coached for 14 years - I do not believe you have.



    What I find funny is i gave articles of former NBA coaches and Former NBA players who credited Russell with making by far the biggest impact..Yet, I should take ur word over the former nba players/coaches?

    “The Celtics can thank the Good Lord for Bill Russell.” - Former 76'ers coach

    “If I had a choice of any basketball player in the league,” Lakers guard Jerry West would say after losing a fifth Finals series to Boston in 1968, “my No.1 choice has to be Bill Russell. Bill Russell never ceases to amaze me.”- Jerry west

    “That’s quite a twist, isn’t it, having a defensive player mean the difference?” said Kundla. “We don’t fear the Celtics without Bill Russell. Take him out and we can beat them … He’s the guy who whipped us psychologically. Russell has our club worrying every second. Every one of the five men is thinking Russell is covering him on every play. He blocks a shot, and before you know it, Boston is getting a basket, and a play by Russell has done it.” - Kundla (Lakers HC)


    Now

    * There's a LAKER player saying a rival player is the best, when his own teammate was the one dominating the box score. This is like a colts probowl player (Jeff saturday/harrison ect) Coming out and saying they'd rather have Tom Brady over Manning...WOW

    * The man who coached AGAINST Russell ADMITED his team was whipped out psychologically/Admited they were worried about russell every second.


    So I should take ur word over guys that played WITH, played AGAINST, and coached AGAINST Russell?







    However, you have down rated Celtic HOF'ers like it was nothing to give more credit to your binky. It's a team game, and with a player that was almost all one way, I don't quite get how you talk all these titles without the very great teams and Coaches he played with and for.
    what i find comical is i believe you have brady/starr/otto/montana as your top 4 qb's..yet, no marino? what happens if you put marino in sf? he'd win sb's and likey be in ur "elite".

    So you are than letting circumstances out of the players control affect ur rankings...are you not?




    Russell couldn't be Russell now due to changes in the game itself, FA, Coaching emphasis, the effect of the media, the effect of elite athletes which Russell hardly ever saw in his time.

    I could argue the same thing about players in the modern era, Could MJ/Lebron/Kobe ect ect handle the pressure of being the 1st superstar african american basketball player?

    athletes now have it so much easier.. (More money, legit training staff, Much easier travel, own cooks for god sakes ect ect).



    No matter how hard you try as the #1 Russell homer on PSD, so few seem to take your word. Thankfully.

    When Russell retired, wasn't he voted as the greatest of all time?

    Now granted that was prob sometime in the early 70's, But he was voted IIRC the best of HIS time...

    A lot of people claim he's top 5 all time, So whats the diff between top 3-5 and #1? In this case the diff is marginal imo.



    Note: I have changed my stance a very LITTLE. I now have a pre 70's rankings/post 70's ranking. Pre '70 I have Russell and post 70's I obviously have MJ. Basically Co-GOATS sort to speak.
    Last edited by Bos_Sports4Life; 12-31-2012 at 01:05 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos_Sports4Life View Post
    What I find funny is i gave articles of former NBA coaches and Former NBA players who credited Russell with making by far the biggest impact..Yet, I should take ur word over the former nba players/coaches?
    Sure - I have the benefit of hindsight, and they do not.

    So I should take ur word over guys that played WITH, played AGAINST, and coached AGAINST Russell?
    You're a zealot, you'll gladly suffer torture rather than give up on your binky.

    what i find comical is i believe you have brady/starr/otto/montana as your top 4 qb's..yet, no marino? what happens if you put marino in sf? he'd win sb's and likey be in ur "elite".
    Marino didn't win one title. You'll notice my choices in basketball, football, and baseball all almost universally won a ring.

    What I find comical is that when I knock back one of your points as I have many times, you always avoid admitting losing, and just push on to the next argument. Actually, that's pathetic.

    So you are than letting circumstances out of the players control affect ur rankings...are you not?
    A football QB (at least since the early 50's) is a one way player. Basketball requires two way players, and Russell is one of the 3-4 most pathetic offensive players in the HOF. He needed to be scooped up by Red, and put on a high paced offensive club lacking in defense and rebounding. Go look up the Pistons in each of Russell's seasons and tell me how many titles he has for them? The answer is zero, and he'd be as well known or less so than Neil Johnston these days, because he wasn't enough of a whole player like most of the all time greats to actually help on offense in any significant way.

    I could argue the same thing about players in the modern era, Could MJ/Lebron/Kobe ect ect handle the pressure of being the 1st superstar african american basketball player?
    Wilt was there in year 3, and took much more crap from day 1 being a very confident and brash person, while Russell was shy and retiring.

    athletes now have it so much easier.. (More money, legit training staff, Much easier travel, own cooks for god sakes ect ect).
    That argument cannot hide the fact that Russell played in a league with very few teams (8 and 9 most of his years - with only two rounds of playoffs), surrounded by physical inferiors. By the Bird/Magic times there were many more players, teams, and the level of play was much higher - and both of them even with Jabbar and Jordan picking off MVP's have more MVP Win Shares than Russell. Bird played less games than Russell too, so by MVP voting he must have been better - and he was.

    When Russell retired, wasn't he voted as the greatest of all time?
    I would have voted him the same then. But I'm not a Stepford fan, I think, and I have the benefit of all these years of the NBA after Russell, and he's exposed more all the time.

    Now granted that was prob sometime in the early 70's, But he was voted IIRC the best of HIS time...
    There are 3x more players now and for some time, for a player to standout against far greater competition just makes it clear that Russell doesn't match up.

    #1. Poor offensive (shooting) player for an all time great (the worst in fact)
    #2. Small league (mostly battled against 7 and 8 teams in most of his years).
    #3. Was placed into the best possible env for a player with his skills and flaws, perhaps the greatest "hot house flower" in NBA history.
    #4. Also had the best Coach/GM

    A lot of people claim he's top 5 all time, So whats the diff between top 3-5 and #1? In this case the diff is marginal imo.
    I have him at 16th, and that's a bit of a gift.

    Note: I have changed my stance a very LITTLE. I now have a pre 70's rankings/post 70's ranking. Pre '70 I have Russell and post 70's I obviously have MJ. Basically Co-GOATS sort to speak.
    Well to me, the NBA has 4 slices:

    1946-1955 Mikan/Johnston (Jurassic)
    1956-1970 Russell/Wilt (Neanderthal)
    1971-1989 Jabbar/Magic/Bird (Enlightenment)
    1990-now Jordan/Duncan (Modern)

    If you only want two, then the split is 1976-77 (ABA merger)

    The NBA didn't really get going until after Mikan or Johnston retired, so IMO Russell sits as top 5 in a 15 year window. Top 5 only? Put it this way, you keep placing him and valuing him as a Celtic. Well, what about Russell on other teams? The result is going to be less in every case. So he did what he could in the situation he found himself. Well doesn't a great have to sometime adapt in other situations?

    Russell got lucky/needed a lot of help to win his last 3 titles, he didn't adapt anything, just had Red bring him more help (Bailey Howell). The only adaptation I ever saw Russell have was his passing, he took on more when Cousy retired, and for that he needs to be credited. What about when the scoring from Sam Jones and others started to dry up, did he step up? Nope. Havlicek and Howell were called on. Russells PPG went down as he aged, so did his RPG - natural enough - but his last great year was his 9th year at age 30. He had six great years in an eight year period. His rookie year he was hurt and was a rookie. He wasn't the main operator on that title. The team was stacked in fact for his first 5 titles. In year six it wasn't stacked, but Russell was not having a great year. However, the give Bill his due, he was monumental for the 7th and 8th years - 1963-1965, the Celts could have won with less help. After that Wilt's 76'ers steamrolled Russell's first coaching job in '66-'67, and then the final two. Baylor was done in the last one, and the ballons remained in place.

    Bill Russell great player in his time and place, but as NBA history marches on, star players are not one way players. He was not the start of an era. He was the end of an era. Red himself paved the way to the future with Dave Cowens a natural NBA #4 playing out of position (in those days) at the #5. Cowens 6' 8.5", full of ferocity, and having a nice 18' foot J started to break the hold of 7 foot Centers that Wilt had started. Cowens played high/low with Paul Silas - Silas being the inside guy on offense many times. Throw in JoJo White, and now wily old vet Havlicek, and viola - two more titles - just more proof that Red was the power behind the Celts. The draft pick that became Joe Barry Carrol for Robert Parish and the pick that became Kevin McHale seals the deal on that debate.


    6/27/09: “We expect [Rondo] to play by the rules and be a leader as a point guard. We need him to be more of a leader,” Ainge said. “There were just a couple situations where he was late this year, I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but showed up late and the rest of the team was there. We have team rules and you have to be on time. He was fined for being late, he said he was stuck in traffic, and it’s just unacceptable.”

    Some jerks never learn.....

  12. #12
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    Great discussion from people who saw him play. Unfortunately can't add anything myself, most of what I know about him was from that article and former player/coach interviews.
    I survived Stephon Marbury's inability
    Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson era
    I survived them all leaving, a 12-70 season and not getting the #1 pick
    Mikhail Prokhorov buys the Nets
    I survived Melodrama
    Deron Williams traded here
    I survived 248 games missed due to injury, 5 d-league call-ups, 14 different lineups in ONE season, Johan Petro
    I survived Dwightmare
    I survived Avery & PJC's rotations
    THE Offseason - Success TBD

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