Bill Russell, who led the Celtics to 11 championships playing in the old Boston Garden, has been immortalized with a statue on City Hall Plaza only a few blocks away.
The first of those championships occurred in his rookie season of 1956-57 on the heels of leading his college team, the University of San Francisco, to back-to-back national titles, and the 1956 US Olympic squad to a gold medal in Melbourne, Australia. The old St. Louis Hawks made the 6 ft. 10 in. Russell the second pick in the 1956 draft, behind Sihugo Green, but immediately traded him to the Celtics for Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. The deal paid off handsomely, as Boston won its first NBA title in Russell’s rookie season, then began an unmatched run of eight successive championships two years later.
Russell capped off his playing career as the team’s player coach, becoming the first African-American to break into the head coaching ranks in any of the four major North American professional leagues.
Always outspoken and highly quotable, here are 12 thoughts Russell shares in his book, "Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner," written with David Falkner in 2001.
Bill Russell wears a Boston Celtics uniform for his first workout with the NBA team shortly after having signed a contract in Boston on Dec. 19, 1956.
Joy's role in winning
Bill Russell wears a Boston Celtics uniform for his first workout with the team shortly after having signed a contract on Dec. 19, 1956.
By Ross AtkinStaff writer
“To me, the most important part of winning is joy. You can win without joy, but winning that’s joyless is like eating in a four-star restaurant when you’re not hungry. Joy is a current of energy in your body, like chlorophyll or sunlight, that fills you up and makes you naturally want to do your best.”