The city of Boston has had many great athletes perform in the Hub, but, in my opinion, there is NO question that its’ greatest champion still remains Mr. Bill Russell.
One can make a case for Tom Brady over John Hannah as the greatest Patriot or Bobby Orr over Ray Bourque as the greatest to wear the black and gold Bruins sweater, but nobody’s championship legacy compares to the Celtics number 6. Ted Williams is still the standard for Red Sox greatness, but, no World Series titles. Larry Legend, the Cooz, and John Havlicek can all be argued as to who is next in line to Big Bill, but, with 11 World Titles in his 13 year career? Bill Russell towers above all the rest of Boston’s sports immortals.
It is a shame that the racial climate during the late fifties and the decade of the sixties stood in the way of both Russell and the city of Boston developing a real appreciation for each other. Eleven titles in thirteen years is statement enough of Russell’s championship pedigree, but eight of those championships came in a row until that great 1967 Sixers team ended the streak.
I can remember as a thirteen year boy crying my eyes out when Wilt, Hal Greer, Wally Jones, Luke Jackson, and Chet Walker dethroned the 8-time defending champs. Just the thought of the “despicable” Alex Hannum defeating Red in the Eastern Conference Finals makes my hair stand on end to this day.
Bill Russell and his Celtics were SO good during that era that the games rarely sold out! This was because everybody expected victory and winning another title became commonplace and even somewhat mundane.
Bill Russell is Boston’s greatest champion.