A couple of weeks ago, the NBA lost one of its biggest superstars ever as the Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell passed away. An icon in his own right, Russell was easily one of the most influential stars of All-Time.
Playing for the Celtics in the 1960s, Russell was the go-to center for Boston back then. Given how talented their team was, the Celtics were the most dominant team the league has ever seen winning. Russell was probably the most influential piece in this historic team, as he ended up winning a whopping 11 titles between 1957-1969.
Apart from his incredible contributions as a player and as a head coach, the Celtics' legend remained an integral part of the league, often showing up courtside at the biggest games or being a part of the biggest events. While coaches and many players took inspiration from the center and frequently contacted him, it seems like current NBA commissioner Adam Silver was pretty close to the center as well.
In a recent eulogy, Silver described his relationship with the Hall of Famer.
“He was really part of my life—for the last big part of my life, for the last 30 years—and just a really unique person in the world... I was so green and eager to hear his stories, because he was one of the all-time great storytellers.”
“I’ll just say to you that on important issues involving the league, particularly about race, I generally consulted with Bill.”
Not only did Silver speak about his relationship, he even revealed why Russell never liked signing for the fans and was rather comfortable in having a conversation with the public.
"There was nothing more superficial than his signature on a piece of paper, as opposed to a conversation with him.”
“To him, supporting the fans meant a lot more than signing autographs... It meant professionalism. It meant how players approached the game. It meant players’ willingness to play as a team, to give their all in pursuit of winning. That’s what I think he meant by what they owed the fans.”
While Bill Russell might have left us, he leaves us with countless memories and certainly left the wisdom with the players as well. The legendary center will really be missed.