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Late NBA great Bill Russell ‘leaves a giant example for us all,’ says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Video above: Former Celtics teammate Satch Sanders remembers Bill Russell Six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar paid tribute to the late Bill Russell, his mentor and friend who he said “set a tremendous example for everyone us”. The one-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and the league’s first black head coach died Sunday at the age of 88. He was also a prominent civil rights activist, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, denouncing racial segregation, and supporting Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War. “He became a role model when I realized that some of the things that scared me and bothered me about race relations in America were things that he addressed,” Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, told Don Lemon of CNN on Monday: “It gave me a way to talk about it that had all the elements of trying to do something better, instead of just being angry.” it helped me define this in my life and make choices that were more appropriate to get positive changes instead of just expressing your anger. He was the exact person whose example to follow in this field.” Abdul-Jabbar first met Russell at the age of 14 as a freshman at New York’s Power Memorial High School. The pair went on to form a 60-year friendship , during which Russell inspired Abdul-Jabbar as both a player and activist.In the late 1950s, Russell accused the largely White NBA of deliberately excluding black players, while also being part of the first championship all-black lineup in 1964. supremacy on the floor, Russell was also subjected to racial taunts as a player, while his family endured threats, break-ins and vandalism.” anger and rage that he must have felt,” Abdul-Jabbar said.” He handled it in a way that really embarrassed the people who tried to tell him to find the door and leave the Celtics. He kept winning, the Celtics kept winning. And they’ve continued to do so with a number of black athletes.” The former Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers star added that Russell was a “proud bannerman for black athletes” who “never made any of us feel ashamed or he feels proud. “Russell’s 11 championship wins with the Celtics including eight straight between 1959 and 1966; five-time NBA MVP and 12-time NBA All-Star, including his final two years as Celtics player-coach in 1968 . and in 1969.”The vandalism that Bill experienced was just an expression of the anger of people who felt that he should not have been given the opportunity to be as successful as he was as an athlete,” Abdul-Jabbar said. and they wanted to show him that he had a place in society that they didn’t respect and they were going to put him in his place.” But Bill was bigger than that and Bill kept his chin up and kept going. The Celtics went on to win world championships and Bill showed the world what a class he was.”

Video above: Former Celtics teammate Satch Sanders remembers Bill Russell

Six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has paid tribute to the late Bill Russell, his mentor and friend who he said “set a tremendous example for all of us”.

Russell, an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and the league’s first black head coach, died Sunday at age 88.

He was also a prominent civil rights activist, marching alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, denouncing racial segregation, and supporting Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War.

“He became a role model when I realized that some of the things that scared me and bothered me about race relations in America were things that he addressed,” Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday.

“It gave me a way to talk about it that had all the elements of trying to do something better, rather than just being angry.

“He really helped me identify that in my life and make choices that were more conducive to positive change instead of just expressing your anger. He was the person to follow in that area.”

Abdul-Jabbar first met Russell at the age of 14 as a freshman at New York’s Power Memorial High School. The pair went on to form a 60-year friendship, during which Russell inspired Abdul-Jabbar as both a player and activist.

In the late 1950s, Russell accused the predominately White NBA of deliberately excluding black players, while he was also part of the league’s first team in 1964.

Despite his excellence on the field, Russell also endured racial taunts as a player, while his family endured threats, burglaries and vandalism.

“He inspired me to be a better person by handling situations … without giving in to all the anger and rage that he must have felt,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

“He handled that in a way that really embarrassed people who tried to tell him to get the door and leave the Celtics. He kept winning, the Celtics kept winning. And they kept doing it with a number of black athletes.”

The former Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers star added that Russell was “a banner bearer of pride for black athletes,” who “never made any of us feel ashamed or proud.”

Russell’s 11 championship wins with the Celtics including eight straight between 1959 and 1966. He was named NBA MVP five times and an NBA All-Star 12 times, including his final two years as player-coach of the Celtics in 1968 and 1969.

“The vandalism that Bill experienced was just an expression of the anger of people who felt that he shouldn’t have been given the opportunity to be as successful as he was as an athlete,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

“They resented his success and wanted to show him that he had a place in society that was not respected and they would put him in his place.

“But Bill was bigger than that and Bill kept his chin up and kept going. The Celtics kept winning world championships and Bill showed the world what the class was all about.”

Late NBA great Bill Russell ‘leaves a giant example for us all,’ says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Source link Late NBA great Bill Russell ‘leaves a giant example for us all,’ says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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