Despite the many challenges that today's NBA players face before every game, nobody playing today endured the struggles that Bill Russell did during his prime.
As one of the first black NBA superstars, Russell was a top-tier athlete during a time when something as simple as the color of your skin subjected you to vandalism, hate speech, and all kinds of other negatives.
Bill played through all of that while winning 11 titles to set the stage for all that followed him. Now that he has passed away, everyone is talking about all that he did for the game and for the country.
During an interview with USA Today, Shaquille O'Neal gave him all the praise in the world as he explained what life lessons he picked up from the NBA legend.
"I grew up knowing Bill Russell was a great man. But I didn't know until I talked to him how great. He couldn't stay in the same hotels as his (white) teammates, people would write him harsh words. Back then, he never made the kind of money I make but never complained. These conversations taught me to be mentally strong, never to complain and to not be a cry baby with everything at my disposal."
Today, Shaq is known for his humility and great generosity. Besides his involvement in. a number of community-building projects, he also frequently blesses strangers by sharing some of the wealth he has accumulated over the years.
Apparently, many of the virtues that make him who he is today started with Bill Russell decades ago. The man he was on the court, and even behind closed doors, helped inspire thousands of kids just like Shaq to put their best foot forward and become a vessel of positive change for the world.