Many people are bored with the current state of sports. There is no drama, no excitement, and no suspense. It’s all so predictable. The NBA recently passed a rule that if a player gets too many technical fouls in a season they will be suspended for the remainder of the playoffs. This new rule has not been well received by fans who would rather see some real action on the court.
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Bill Russell is most remembered for his famous NBA career with the Boston Celtics, during which he earned five league MVP awards and a franchise-record 11 titles. However, not everyone is aware that during his eight seasons as a head coach, he won two NBA championships.
Russell was a no-nonsense coach both on the field and behind the scenes, and he never hesitated to express his true feelings to his players. During his lone season as the Sacramento Kings’ coach, he fell asleep during a session and furiously criticized his players for being too dull to keep him up.
Bill Russell was a head coach in the NBA who was known for keeping things genuine.
Bill Russell, the former Sacramento Kings head coach, watches a game versus the Washington Bullets | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Russell had had won eight titles with the Celtics in nine seasons before the 1966-67 NBA season. He was clearly bored and didn’t feel pushed enough, so he decided to take on a larger position with the club by becoming the head coach while still staying on the roster. As a result, he became the NBA’s first black head coach.
Russell stayed in Boston for three more seasons as a player-coach, winning two more NBA championships before retiring in 1969. In 1973, he returned to Seattle to take over the SuperSonics, leading them to playoff berths in two of the following four seasons. In 1987, he returned to the Kings for one final time.
Kenny Smith is a well-known musician., a rookie with the Kings during Russell’s lone season as coach, once recounted a tale that wonderfully encapsulated Russell’s personality.
Smith previously stated on Open Court, “He had an intriguing idea with me as a rookie.” “On the bus, he said to me, ‘You’re going to have to sit next to me on the bus the whole time.’ That was something I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to sit close to the coach on the bus, on airline trips, or anywhere else. So I began going backwards, and he grabbed me. ‘Young boy, you’ve got to sit next to me,’ he remarked. ‘Why do I have to sit…’ ‘Because he’s a loser, he’s a loser, he’s a loser, and they’ll never win.’
Russell just doubled down on his position when a player stood up and called him out.
He shouted, “I’m trying to exchange them, but no one wants them!”
“Bill Russell was a coach who kept things real,” Smith said.
Russell reportedly fell asleep during a practice session and blamed it on his uninteresting teammates.
Russell’s return to the sidelines in 1987 to take over the Kings was not as successful. He had won five of his previous seven seasons as a head coach, but when he started losing games in bunches in Sacramento, he became dissatisfied.
Smith reportedly recounted a funny tale about Russell dozing asleep during practice and blaming it on his teammates (2:47-3:18 in the video above).
Coach Russell didn’t do much running throughout practice. So he’d delegate the practices to Willis Reed, and he’d read the paper. He reminded me of Bear Bryant. So he’s sitting there reading the paper when I turn around and find him asleep at practice. Everyone laughs as he falls, and he says, ‘Everybody out of practice!’ I wouldn’t be sleeping here if you weren’t so damn boring!’
Bill, you’ll never change. Never, ever, ever change.
A head coach who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the near future
Russell has been a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1975, but he is set to become just the third player and coach in NBA history to be enshrined as both.
Russell will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for the second time on Saturday, Sept. 11, with Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, and others.
On the court, he was a Hall of Famer, and now he’s a Hall of Famer on the bench.
This time, just try to remain awake.
RELATED: Bill Russell Told Michael Jordan Face to Face That His Celtics Played in a Difficult Era Than MJ’s Bulls
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