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Bill Russell Got Slapped By 5 Guys When He First Moved To The Projects, So His Mother Made Him Fight All 5 Guys: "Doesn't Matter Whether You Won Or Lost. What Matters Is You Stood Up For Yourself."

Bill Russell Got Slapped By 5 Guys When He First Moved To The Projects, So His Mother Made Him Fight All 5 Guys: "Doesn't Matter Whether You Won Or Lost. What Matters Is You Stood Up For Yourself."

Bill Russell is the most successful player in NBA history. Russell is a true legend and pioneer when it comes to basketball. While Russell had a fairly short career when compared to other superstars, playing only 13 years, it is what he did in those 13 years that truly stands out.

One of the attributes that allowed Russell to be so successful was his fearlessness. He didn't back down from anyone. And it appears that fearlessness was instilled in him by his mother. He once told the story about how he got slapped by 5 boys when he moved to the projects.

When his mother found out, she took him to confront those boys. Rather than defend him, she made Russell fight all the boys consecutively. Russell won and lost different fights. His mother told him that he should always stand up for himself, and while he should not start a fight, he should always finish it (slides 2-4).

“When we first moved to the projects, my mother was getting everything together. I was sitting on the steps. And these 5 guys ran by. And one of them slapped me as they went by. Well, I was 9 years old, and I did what 9 year olds are supposed to. I went and told my mother. And she said ‘What!’. She grabbed the keys to the house and grabbed me. We went all through the projects looking for those 5 guys. And so she says ‘are these the guys?’. I say ‘yes ma’am’. I didn’t know what she was going to do. I thought she was going to take care of it. But the way she took care of it was; ‘okay, you’re going to fight every 1 of them. All 5 of them, 1 at a time’. Thanks, mom. So I go into 5 fights, and I lose 3 and win 2. We go back to our place and I’m crying. She says ‘don’t cry. You did what you’re supposed to do. Doesn’t matter whether you won or lost. What matters is you stood up for yourself. And that’s what you must always do. Stand up for yourself’. That day changed my whole attitude about… she says ‘I don’t want you to ever pick a fight, but always finish the fight you’re in’. And so that’s the kind of stuff I got from my mother.”

Russell clearly took that lesson to heart and implemented it into his life. And that fighting spirit and willingness to defend himself allowed him to become one of the greatest of all time. Bill Russell's fighting spirit could be seen first hand when he was on the court, and it yielded some incredible results.

Russell played for the Boston Celtics throughout the 50s and 60s, and won an astonishing 11 NBA championships, meaning that he failed to win the NBA championship only twice in his career. Russell's career was truly remarkable, as he went on to establish himself as a historic figure.