“Let’s have the fellows who want to play basketball on one side,” said Bill Russell, “and the fellows who want to fight in another place.”
Cousy agreed. “Heinsohn can do everything Baylor can do,” he said one day. “On top of that, he’s the best offensive rebounder in the business.”
What follows are 13 poems penned by the NBA great Tom Meschery.
Moser, about to hand the ball to the Celts’ John Havlicek, looked at the agonized Holzman—the Knicks were 16 points behind—and said firmly, “That’s enough,” without exclamation point.
Heed those words, Red. Sit back, light up a cigar and relax. You don’t need the aggravation anymore.
“I’ll repeat what I said before about this job,” says Russell. “The best player I’ve got is me.”
The success or failure achieved by Russell, his team, and the NBA in picking their precarious way along that path will, justifiably or not, affect the future ambitions and lifetime careers of Black athletes in baseball, football—indeed, in all sports.
There is no bitterness in the man because he played in a time when the game was not appreciated, and the rewards were relatively few.
From that day on, William Felton Russell made everyone an imitator.
“Jerry West is one clever dude,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He was responsible for making us a unified group. And that was the big difference in this team.”