Celtics, Russell, Tom Heins discussed on Morning Edition


It's the NBA Finals, but Bill Russell number 6 brilliantly spearheading the Celtics before a capacity crown of 14,000. From 1957 to 69, the Celtics won 11 titles, including 8 straight. There were great players like bob cousy, Tom heins and Sam and Casey Jones, and so many others, but none like Russell. He was the bridge to all 11 championships, a competitor so fierce he'd often throw up before games. Success, though, couldn't hide a difficult relationship with the city where he played. Russell didn't trust some of Boston's white fans who cheer the winning, but then complain the team had too many black players. In a Boston Globe documentary, former teammate Tom heinsohn remembered how the Boston suburb of reading, where Russell lived, held a dinner to honor him. He was so taken aback that he broke down and started to cry and he said that he wished he could live in reading for the rest of his life. But not long after people broke into Russell's house, destroyed trophies and defecated in his bed. His relationship to those outside the Celtics locker room became chilly. He got a reputation for being surly. He refused to sign autographs. On the other hand, Russell loved the Celtics and the progressive white people who ran the franchise. During the dynasty years, the Celtics became the first NBA team to have an all black starting lineup. And in 1966, more history, as heard in this NBA TV documentary. Here he is the new coach of the solids, the best of you. When legendary head coach red auerbach retired, he named Russell to take his place. The first black head coach in the NBA. It was historic, but Bill Russell said he didn't care. He simply believed he was the best man for the job, although a reporter questioned that at a press conference after the announcement. A

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