For many people, Bill Russell is defined by grainy video from 60 years or so ago. In those videos, he’s thin, incredibly fast and his teams always won.
But there was a lot more to the man than just basketball, and even basketball, through Russell’s eyes, was not a simple game. It was something that required intellectual rigor and analysis.
For anyone who is interested, Netflix has a superb documentary on Russell called Bill Russell: Legend. And basketball is only part of it.
The documentary delves into Russell’s roots in Louisiana, his time with the Boston Celtics, and his relationship with the city of Boston and the racism he encountered there.
It also delves into his role in the Civil Rights movement, his relationships with Wilt Chamberlain, Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach and Bob Cousy.
Russell won like no one else but his life was complex, rich and supremely American. This documentary is well worth your time.