Bill Russell is one of the greatest players in NBA history. In the 1950s and 60s, he won 11 titles with the Boston Celtics, including eight in a row from 1958 to 1966. He also won 5 MVP awards, went to 12 All-Star games, had his number retired by the Celtics and was elected into the Hall of Fame. He’s also one of only two players to ever grab 50 rebounds in a game–the other being Wilt Chamberlain, of course–and is second all-time in league history in rebounds. I could go on for thousands of words about Russell’s greatness, but that’s enough for now.
Russell is also one of the most thoughtful men to have ever played the game, and before Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight, he penned a column for NBA.com. The strangest bit of information from his piece is that he claims to not have known that his Celtics won eight titles in a row.
It might seem strange but I did not know our Celtic teams won eight championships in a row until about 20 years ago when I read about it in a game program. Our focus was always on that particular season, always one year at a time. The year we played had nothing to do with the previous year or the next year. That’s just the way it was.
Now, I don’t know if Miami is thinking about winning three in a row. In the NBA Finals, there’s pressure and you always see how players react to the pressure. For some guys, it makes them a step slower while for other guys, it makes them a step faster. I like to watch to see how teams react to the pressure because for the really great players, there isn’t any pressure, you just go out and play.
I get his point about just going out there and playing, but I have to be honest, I find it incredibly difficult to not realize you won eight championships in a row. I mean, how could you not know that?