Skip to main content

Bird-as-most-lovable-Celtic overwhelming favorite over Russell. Why?


The results of my Twitter poll are in on the most beloved Celtic, all-time. Larry Bird ran away with the vote, taking 81.4% of the ballots. Bill Russell came in a distant-second with 10.2% of the vote. Paul Pierce grabbed 6.8%, and John Havlicek finished with 1.7%.

So, why the distance between Larry and Russ? Was it racism? Possibly. That can't be totally excluded. Was it the fact that Big Bill played mostly in the 60's when fewer fans went to games or watched them on TV.? 

I believe that most Celtics fans in-the-know would put Bird and Russell at the top of their Best-Celtic-All-Time list, so why the discrepancy in the vote? 

Although I never personally met Bill, he lived near me in Reading, Massachusetts in the 60's, and without going into detail, some members of the community treated him badly. You have read the stories. Assorted members of the media were no better, sending unwarranted criticism his way. If Russ wasn't particularly affable, he had his reasons.

My personal take is that Russell had a tough facade because he was never loved and appreciated when he led the Celtics to 11 Titles. Was racism involved here. Some - I believe. Just as Bird alleged Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe sarcasticlly regarded him in his rookie year as "The Great White Hope", it is probable that some Celtics-fans-of-light-complexion favor players of that same color (per CelticsBlog's Professor Parquet):

When Bird reported to camp as a rookie, he immediately had to deal with "great white hope" fallout issues from without and within, mainly teammates Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe. The two fading veteran yet established black forwards were skeptical of the pale, slender white forward's game.

Wicks and Rowe even made comments to the effect of "here comes the great white hope" the first day of practice when Bird came onto the court. The former UCLA bookend forwards were near the end of their careers and had become underachieving malcontents.

As Bird succinctly (tellingly) noted in the NBA TV documentary "Bird and Magic: A Courtship of Rivals", Wicks and Rowe did not make it past the first day of practice under ex-Marine drill sergeant coach Bill Fitch, who cut them after their antics.

Celtic forward Cedric Maxwell also admitted that at the time, a lot of black players were biased against caucasian players, openly skeptical that they could play well against top competition since there was a dearth of white stars in the league.
So what are my readers' thoughts? Racism? Russ played too long ago? Bill simply was not lovable? Too small a sample (59 votes)? Let us know.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Elm Street Nightmare

 A true-and-suspenseful horror tale of haunting, homicides and the hunt for triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante - as told by the cops that were there By Lt. Thomas Lane (Ret.)  Daniel Laplante - cold, calm, clever, calculating- Photo: YouTube   Elm Street  surfaces on six (6) occasions in the Laplante saga: 1.) He  resided on Elm Street  in Townsend, Massachusetts  2.) He  kidnapped a woman  at gunpoint on  Elm Street, Pepperell , Massachusetts 3.) That kidnapped woman fled to the Gillogly residence on Elm Street after escaping from the armed fugitive, Laplante. 4.) He was arrested and transported to Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Elm Street in Concord . 5.) He was  tried, convicted   and sentenced for the murders at  Superior Court , corner of  Elm Stree t and Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. 6.) The author, Thomas Lane, lived on Elm Steet, Pepperell, Massachusetts while a police Sgt./Lt. for the town police force. When evil and cleverness reside in the same mind, the st

Did the Celtics Kevin McHale really have a wingspan of 8-feet?

According to many sources, the Celtics Kevin McHale did indeed have an estimated wingspan of 8-feet. One of those sources is Wikipedia, as seen below: Kevin McHale American basketball player DescriptionKevin Edward McHale is an American retired basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Boston Celtics. He is a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, and is regarded as one of the best power forwards of all time. He was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Wikipedia Born: December 19, 1957 (age 61 years), Hibbing, MN Wingspan: 8′ 0″ Height: 6′ 10″ Spouse: Lynn McHale (m. 1982) NBA draft: 1980, Boston Celtics (Round: 1 / Pick: 3) Hall of fame induction: 1999 Number: 32 (Boston Celtics / Power forward, Center) Kevin was listed at 6'10" tall when he was drafted with the 3rd pick in the 1980 draft. Red Auerbach, in yet another heist, brought in both McHale and center Robert Parish (via trade) prior to the Celtics' 1980-81 Champion

In defense of Marcus Smart

 Let me make it clear first of all that I am totally against making a threat of any kind that even hints at harming, or certainly killing, another human being. Marcus Smart was wrong in doing so in the Celtics loss to the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder , and he deserved the one-game suspension. But to be honest, part of me loved that it occurred. . This type of thing can happen when a player gets to a point "beyond frustration" and is having a bad game. Marcus and his teammates have been under-performing generally - were in the process of losing to a pathetic-and-tanking Thunder team - and Smart was having a bad game . And he let loose verbally at the closest target - an NBA official. Wilt Chamberlain did a similar act versus referee, Earl Strom when Wilt was having his usual tortuous time at the free throw line (per Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith): ''He was in one of those 1-for-13s,'' recalls referee Earl Strom. ''Nothing was getting close. S