It was fifty years ago- Sports Illustrated named it’s 1968 Sportsman of the Year and it was Boston Celtic great Bill Russell. Russell became the first NBA player to ever win the award- in 1961 college basketball player Jerry Lucas had won it.
Bill Russell was a great choice. Russell was the ultimate winner. The 1967-68 season would be his next to last as a player. He was also the coach of the Celtics. He would lead them to yet another NBA Championship that season. Russell- in three years as a college player led the University of San Francisco to two college basketball championships. He led the US Olympic team to a gold medal in the 1956 Olympic Games and during his 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics the Celtics won 11 World Championships. Russell wasn’t one of those players who was along for the ride -on all those teams- college, Olympics and with the Celtics he was the best player- the main man, the leader. I have thrown this question out to sports fans I know- if you could have the career of any athlete whose would you have wanted ? My choice is Bill Russell. The object is to win- and out of 17 possible championship seasons– Russell’s teams came out on top 14 out of 17 times- and sure he was part of great teams with other great players around him but he was always the driving force on every team he was on. The greatest basketball player in history in my opinion.