But the real MVP of last night wasn’t Russell Westbrook it was a different Russell. William Felton Russell, better known as Bill Russell, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. And when you run down his list of accomplishments, it sounds like three or four lifetimes.
An 11-time NBA champion, the first player to win an NBA championship, a college title, and an Olympic gold medal. A civil rights pioneer. The first African-American to coach a professional sports team. The first African-American coach to win a championship. A member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and the list goes on.
When I had him on the show back in May of 2009, I referred to him as a Hall of Famer and he jumped in said to please call him captain of the Boston Celtics.
Goosebumps. That says so much. That for everything that he accomplished on the court, the thing that mattered most to him was that he was being captain of the Celtics. That’s why he’s Bill Russell and there’s nobody else like him.
Last night, he accepted the lifetime achievement award from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning. And when he came on stage, he looked those five Hall of Famers up and down, counted them off and then said (INSERT)
Truth. I know Bill Russell is 83. Just like I know that he would and could kick their asses. You do not want those hands. To quote Mike in Indy, you betta don’t. You betta don’t.