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When Bill Russell became the NBA's first black superstar in the 1950's & 60'S his reward and appreciation from his Boston Celtic fans was to defecate in his bed after he helped lead the team to several NBA titles - (Library of Congress - New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper - photo)


Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain exemplified how to play the game without Showtime hot-dogging. The two battled for over a decade during the 60's. Since that time no NBA center could compare to their brute talent - (Library of Congress photo)


Bill Russell voted the best NBA player of all time teamed up with Celtics coach Red Auerbach to win the 1956-57 NBA title. For Russell it was his rookie year, for Auerbach it was his 1st title after 11 years as a coach in the league - (The Sporting News Archives - Jack O'Connell photo)





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Our all time NBA 1st team involves the player that rocked the league, Bill Russell who Red Auerbach coached with the Boston Celtics. Russell was acquired in a trade with the then St Louis Hawks (now Atlanta). The Celtics gave up two highly productive white players, Cliff Hagen and Ed MacCauley in the 1956 NBA draft. One has to take into consideration how racist the United States at the time and remains so BUT... Auerbach took a bold chance with the Russell acquisition. Boston fans showed their appreciation by breaking into Russell's home and defecating in his bed.... - THIS DAY IN THE NBA



Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Without question, as I've previously stated, I doubt that today's NBA players could play the old school game. The NBA began in 1947, with the Philadelphia Warriors taking the title in a then 60 game season in an 11 team league. The Warriors finished the regular season 2nd in the Eastern Division with a 35-25 record.

The Washington Capitols won the regular season with a league best 49-11 record. Now here's OUR STORY AND TEAM SELECTION becomes clearer... WHY??? The Capitols were coached our NBA ALL-TIME GREATEST TEAM coach... Red Auerbach. The then 30-year-old Auerbach went on to become the most instrumental individual on how the NBA developed and changed. Slow down bro... We'll explain this insight as we roll out this story.

The Warriors played only 10 playoff games to win the title. They possessed the leagues top scorer Joe Fulks who ripped the chords with a, now low, 23.2 average.

Our all time NBA 1st team involves the player that rocked the league, Bill Russell who the Auerbach coached Boston Celtics acquired in a trade with the then St Louis Hawks (now Atlanta). The Celtics gave up two highly productive white players, Cliff Hagen and Ed MacCauley in the 1956 NBA draft for a black man.

Hagen never played a game for the Celtics, which selected him in the 3rd round of the 1953 draft. He served in the military during 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons but played for the Andrews Air Force team.

One has to take into consideration how racist the United States was at the time and remains so BUT... Auerbach took a bold chance with the Russell acquisition however the cigar smoking coach was a man that shot from the hip and usually hit his target.

The move paid off a Russell helped the Celtics win their first title in the 1956-57 season with a 44-28 record in a then eight team league. They also only had to win 10 playoff games to snatch the title.

The title was the first ever for the then 11-year NBA coach Auerbach. The Celtics were one of the leagues original franchises from 1947. Auerbach rolled the dice and he won with Russell. The young player not only had to adjust to playing the pro game he had to adjust to a racist city in the predominately Irish populated Boston and being the only black player on the team.

In what would turn out to be ironic Russell missed much of the NBA season by fulfilling his obligation to play for his country the United State of America in the Olympics. At that time only college players represented the racist nation. The team succeeded by winning the title and Gold Medal that added to Russell's winning success that would continue at the top level... the NBA.

Although Russell played in only 48 of a 62 regular game season he led the league in rebounds per game average of 19.6. In the playoffs he averaged 13.9 ppg. and 24.4 rebounds. His performance for a first year player out of college laid the cornerstone of what was to come from him and laid the foundation of what the NBA is today.

The presence of the black player helping the Celtics their first ever title for Boston was reciprocated when even after Russell helped deliver six NBA championships in seven seasons fans broke into Russell's home and defecated on his beds and walls and destroyed many of his trophies.

During the first stage of the league in some cases black players were regularly not allowed into the same establishments as their white teammates. In 1961, black Celtics players were denied service at a Kentucky hotel restaurant, which led to Russell and the others to decide to simply leave rather than play in a scheduled exhibition game.

Racism continues despite the federal civil rights legislation: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. By then the Russell and the Celtics rolled off eight of nine NBA titles including seven in a row. The St Louis Hawks were the only other team to win a title, as they did, in the 1957/58 season. That team included Hagen and MacCauley. That Hawks team had NO BLACK PLAYERS.

The 64/65 title winning Celtics team was predominately black with six black and five white players. They would win the following season making it seven straight titles and eight of nine. With Russell becoming the leagues first black coach and Auerbach the General Manager they went on to win two more titles in the 67/68 and 68/69 seasons.

The final Russel's Celtics led team had eight back players to four white. The only other team to win a title during Russell's tenure with the Celtics was the 1966/67 Philadelphia 76ers who were believed to be the best NBA team of all time by some pundits.

The Sixers were led by Russell's arch rival Wilt Chamberlain who was on his first title winning team in his eight years in the league. The Sixers had a balanced racial makeup with five black and five white players. The outcome of Russell's playing career is being the record holder of eleven title winning teams including two as player coach.

Russell had endured and mentally fight his way through that tumultuous time in America's dark history that continues today. The point being he and Jackie Robinson were two of the first super star black athletes that had to deal and react to racist America through a two decade period from 1947 to 1966. For Russell he has seen racism grow throughout his life and he is now 86 years old, which is telling.

A winning tradition started early for Russell. In high school Russell was in the Class of 1952, and led the McClymonds Warriors to back-to-back state championships during his junior and senior seasons in 1951 and 1952. He went on to become an Olympic gold medalist. The first black head coach in all American professional sports. Basically he did pretty much everything one could do in the game of basketball.

In his quiet manner he fought racism intellectually with his projects and actions. He was the first NBA player to visit Africa traveling with the U.S. State Department to conduct basketball clinics in Libya, Ethiopia, Guinea, and Liberia, where he invested in a rubber plantation that employed only Africans. Since then, the NBA has helped develop the game of basketball on the continent of Africa through the Basketball Without Borders program, opened an office in South Africa and announced the Basketball Africa League, that was set to launch Friday, March 13 at the Dakar Arena in Dakar, Senegal prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting the world down.

Without saying Russell set more NBA records of any player from his era. Russell announced his retirement from the Boston Celtics after a stellar 13-year career that included those 11 NBA Championships. In 1980, Russell was named the "Greatest Player in the History of the NBA" by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America. He is the only player on our all-time team that played a large portion of his NBA career in the 50's.

On November 17, 2006, the two-time NCAA Championship Tournament winner with the University of San Francisco, Russell was recognized for his impact on college basketball as a member of the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was one of five, along with John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Dean Smith and Dr. James Naismith, selected to represent the inaugural class.

Throughout his career Russell used his heightened platform as an NBA star to fight back against the same overt racism and inequality that plague the country today. In the face of fan violence, possible career jeopardy and even FBI surveillance, Russell believed his responsibility as an athlete, and as a human being, was to leave things better for those who came after him. The FBI opened a file on the Russell and referred to him, as "an arrogant Negro" for taking an activist stance.

In relation to today's America's racist mentality at least fans didn't attack him and place a knee on his neck until he died, as a Minneapolis policeman did when he killed George Floyd. The bottom line is by their example and performances Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell and Muhammad ALI did more for future black athletes and the black race by absorbing racist abuse while standing tall with dignity and grace while continuing to excel at the highest level. Their influence instilled an attitude that black is great and although being black they remain capable to be the best in their respective sports and endeavors.



June 30, 1969 NBA great Bill Russell announced his retirement from the Boston Celtics after a stellar 13-year career that included 11 NBA Championships. In 1980, Russell was named the “Greatest Player in the History of the NBA” by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America.

June 30, 1993 Orlando selected Michigan forward Chris Webber with the first pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, held before 15,324 fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Magic, however, traded Webber’s rights to Golden State for the third pick in the Draft, Memphis State guard Anfernee Hardaway and three future first round draft picks. Philadelphia tabbed 7-6 center Shawn Bradley from Brigham Young with the second overall pick.

June 30, 1999 The Chicago Bulls selected Duke’s Elton Brand with the first overall selection in the 1999 NBA Draft.


1st Team
2nd Team
Larry Bird
Elgin Baylor
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
LeBron James
Magic Johnson
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach



On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy


To be continued…


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