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Kenny Smith Shared Hilarious Story Of When Bill Russell Was The Coach Of The Sacramento Kings: "I'm Trying To Trade Them But Nobody Wants Them"

Kenny Smith Shared Hilarious Story Of When Bill Russell Was The Coach Of The Sacramento Kings: "I'm Trying To Trade Them But Nobody Wants Them"

Bill Russell wasn't just one of the greatest basketball players of all time but was also an NBA coach. He is the last player to win a title as a player coach, somehow doing it twice. After his retirement, Russell took a few coaching jobs around the league. The final one came in 1987 when he joined the Sacramento Kings as head coach and GM.

The Kings had drafted Kenny Smith with the 6th overall pick in the 1987 Draft and had high hopes for the young guard. Russell personally looked out for Smith on the Kings team bus, once telling the rookie that he had to sit with him for every trip the team took together.

Smith was not happy about being isolated from his teammates and eventually stood up for himself and asked Russell why he couldn't sit with his teammates. Smith told this full story on an old episode of Open Court, and Russell's response was absolutely iconic.

 “You’re going to have to sit next to me on the bus the whole time. 'I didn’t want to do that'," Smith said. “I don’t want to sit next to the coach the whole bus and the plane rides and everywhere. So I started walking to the back and he grabs me back. He said, ‘Young fella you got to sit next to me.' Why do I need to sit next to you? 'Because he's a loser, he's a loser, he's a loser. They're never gonna win. LaSalle Thompson wasn't one of the guys he pointed at and he said 'you can't call these guys losers, what are you doing?'. 'I am trying to trade them. Nobody wants them, nobody wants them. If you don't believe me, you can sit with me in the office."

To roast a team full of players like that is extremely unconventional, but Bill Russell was arguably the most respected man in the NBA, so nobody was going to question his assessment. 

Russell's post-playing, coaching career was quite unflattering with the Kings and the Seattle Supersonics in 1973. Regardless, his impact on the game can never be questioned.