Sajidah asked in SportsBasketball · 10 years ago

Bill Russell didn't like white people?

"If Michael Jordan is basketball's greatest player, then Russell, with 11 championships to his name, is its greatest winner.

Russell grew up and played at a time when racism was much more out in the open than it is now. His early life experience left him jaded, and he often perceived racism even when it wasn't there.

His relationship with the media and fans was strained to the say the least, as he refused to sign autographs for white fans and often made controversial remarks to journalists.

Based on what he went through as a child and young adult, he surely cannot be blamed for being touchy when it came to race relations. He has since made amends and become an ambassador for the game.

When he was playing, though, he was hated even by his own fans."

Isn't that hard to believe that his own fans didn't like him...

7 Answers

  • MyKill
    Lv 5
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Thats Boston for ya. Russell played for the Celtics and NOT for the city of Boston.

    Some excerpt:

    In April 1945 the Red Sox held a private tryout at Fenway Park for Robinson himself. With only management in the stands, someone yelled "Get those ******* off the field," and the door was shut. In 1949, the Red Sox laughed off the chance to sign Bonds's godfather, the legendary Willie Mays, who would go on to hit more career home runs than all but one man before him and awe crowds with his speed and defense. As Juan Williams reports, "One of the team's scouts decided that it wasn't worth waiting through a stretch of rainy weather to scout the black player." That decision killed the possibility that Mays and Ted Williams might have played in the same outfield.

    In the 1950s, as teams immeasurably strengthened themselves by signing players like Mays, Henry Aaron, Ernie Banks, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, Elston Howard, and others, the Red Sox stood pat with an all white hand. (The next time you hear a Boston fan complain about "The Curse of the Bambino", correct them that their "Curse of the Racism" has had a much more adverse effect.)

    As the Civil Rights Movement blossomed, New England's Black baseball fans would root for integrated clubs over their own home team. In other words, they practiced their own form of ABB - Anybody but Boston.

    Therefore unlike other cities, such as New York and Chicago, where rooting for an integrated team actually helped advance people's consciousness and challenge racist ideas, the Red Sox were proudly planting themselves on the wrong side of history. In the 1950s, if you were young and black, Fenway park was about as safe a space as Bull Connor's back yard.

    But the racism in the Boston sports scene didn't stop at the Green Monster. During the 1950s and 1960s Boston was treated to the most successful run in the history of team sports with the NBA's Celtics winning 11 championships in 13 seasons. The mainstay of that team was a player of immense skill, unselfishness, and leadership: Bill Russell. Russell won five MVPs to go with his 11 rings. In 1967 he became the first African American coach of a pro team. In 1974 he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 1980 the country's basketball sports writers voted him "The Greatest Player in the History of the NBA."

    Russell also felt a deep desire to resist racism. Once in Marion, Indiana, he had been given the key to the city only to be refused service that evening in his hotel's dining room. Russell went to the mayor's home, woke him up, and returned the key.

    His fierce pride (which the media called "a bad attitude") mixed about as well with Boston fans as a John Ashcroft sing along at the Apollo Theater. The result was that the greatest player in Boston team sports history was the target of a constant campaign of racial harassment. When Russell tried to move from his home in the Boston suburb of Reading to a new home across town, neighbors filed a petition trying to block the move. When that failed, other neighbors banded together to try to purchase the home that Russell wanted to buy, said Tom Heinsohn, a close friend of Russell's who played with him from 1956 to 1964. Once, vandals broke into Russell's home and defecated on his bed. Heinsohn said two white sportswriters from Boston told him they wouldn't vote Russell the league's most valuable player because he was Black.

    And just to be clear, Bill Russell REFUSES to sign autographs regardless whether your black or white. Its a matter of principle for him. He would rather talk to you, shake your hands, and stuff like that rather than give you his autograph.

    Source(s): Wish the Lakers had him back in '56. They were scheduled 3rd to pick and was shopping for a center. Red stole Russell by dealing with the Hawks who had the 2nd pick.
  • 10 years ago

    That is a hard thing to wrap your head around. There weren't a lot of brothers in New England at the time and the people were about 20 years behind the times on civil rights issues.

    But it certainly wasn't ALL the fans, just a small fraction of them, just the far right, extra conservative ones. They gave the good ones a bad reputation (same thing that happened under Bush with Americans and the entire rest of the world).

    I am ashamed that that's part of Boston's history, because for the most part, Boston's a great place. Oh sure some of the people come off as having short fuses and being generally mean and hurtful, but that's just how they act. They don't mean anything personal, inside they're good people.

    @ troll investigator - Russel would be one of the top forwards in the NBA today. He would be a swing man who could play small forward, power forward or occasionally center. Remember, the game has evolved because sports science and medicine has evolved. Put Russel in modern times, with modern training and modern medical treatment and there's no possible way he would fail to be an elite player. He wouldn't be getting the same numbers he got in the 60s. He would be like a Kevin Garnett.

  • 10 years ago

    Think of it, when he got to Boston in the late 50s, the Boston school system was segregated by race, the Boston Red Sox were still an all white team. The Patriots were not organized until 1960 and probably were mostly white in those days. The Bruins were more popular than the Celtics during the late 60s when Bobby Orr was playing. Have no doubt that Red Auerbach and Bill Russell were a mutual respect and admiration society. But understand the historical context of Boston when Bill Russell played.

    Source(s): Boston born and raised
  • 4 years ago

    Bill Russell House

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Bill Russell didn't like white people?

    "If Michael Jordan is basketball's greatest player, then Russell, with 11 championships to his name, is its greatest winner.

    Russell grew up and played at a time when racism was much more out in the open than it is now. His early life experience left him jaded, and he often perceived...

    Source(s): bill russell didn 39 white people:
  • Eddie
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Is this a question?

    Anyway race relationship was different back then as it was now and especially a city like Boston which was not the most diverse city anyway. I am sure doing the 50s and 60 he was probably called the N word many times in the city he played for and I am sure he was not able to eat at the same place that Cousy and other were able to eat at. So I can see how bitter a player could be when he basically was not accepted as a person.

  • 10 years ago

    Russell is GOAT IMO..

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