NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell Speaks to Central Students
Posted by Community Relations Department at 12/26/2012
The Boston Celtic superstar spoke about how as an athlete and a student it is better to “understand, than be understood.” Russell pointed out to the students that he was cut from the junior varsity team when he was in high school, but the varsity coach mentored him until he was ready for the next season.
Russell used experiences from his life to explain to the students, that they couldn’t just rely on only athleticism; they needed to be a “complete package”. He wanted the students to feel confident that there is a field where each student has a chance to succeed. He said finding that field comes only from education.
Russell spoke about his career highlights, including his 11 NBA Championships. He pointed out a pair of Nike basketball shoes one of the students was wearing and said, “I’ll just put it this way, I was the guy Michael Jordan wanted to be like.”
He spoke to them about harnessing the motivation and drive they all feel as athletes and applying to their studies. Russell stressed that while basketball was his passion, it did not come easy to him. He learned to be a great defensive player simply because he “could not shoot.” By the time he got to the Boston Celtics, in 1956, Russell said he had practiced three hours a day, seven days a week for seven years.
As the conversation wrapped up, Russell, looking at the Central students in front of him, noted, “You kids look good; I do believe you can succeed.”