The news came like a bucket of cold water. As usual. And with a cold phrase too: “Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully at the age of 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side.”
And emotions ran fast and hot. Because the opening paragraph of his family’s statement, far from alerting us to the sad news, inexorably led us to remember his greatness.
A greatness so enormous that it almost did not fit in its 2.08 meters of height. But more than the greatness of his numbers, what surpassed his humanity was his people skills.
Not even his most terrible rivals, perhaps Wilt Chamberlin the most notorious, could consider him an enemy.
No one in the NBA world could even bring themselves to try to disrespect him. It is that the mere presence of him, but above all things, his way of behaving in life, forced him to worship his manhood.
He was a LEGEND on a field, but also off it. Perhaps the greatest LEGEND in the NBA.
Winner of 11 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, including one as player-coach, died Sunday at the age of 88.
bill russell He wasn’t just beloved by Boston Celtics fans. They just had the luck of never having to suffer it every time the team they loved faced a rival.
It is that all of basketball and American sports learned to separate the chaff from the wheat: it was impossible not to love and respect a man like him.
His resume includes many awards, titles and achievements. Two hands were not enough to wear all the rings he won in the NBA.
But reviewing his numbers would be like falling into the cold statistics of a man who, with his sacred fire, knew how to overcome not only rivals, but also cultural and even racial barriers throughout his life.
When you are reminded of it from now on, there will be no divisions. There will be no discussions about his achievements or, fundamentally, about his legacy.
Because yours goes beyond the borders of basketball or sports in its entirety. His legacy is convincing proof that he was a thorough, humble, upright and respectable man like no other.
Bill Russell turned out to be a permanent beacon that illuminated the lives of several generations, helping them with his example even in dark times. With him the mold was broken.
There will be no one more respected than Bill Russell. Nor anyone who exceeds the giant stature of him as a person. Nor who can leave such a deep mark on society.
On July 31, 2022, a real giant beat us to it.
Rest in peace, LEGEND.
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Bill Russell: the harsh goodbye to a legend