Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bill Russell (originally posted June 18th, 2009)

This is an older post from one of my other blogs. I am sorting posts from my other blogs, and this little piece about the best basketball player ever should really be here.

Bill Russell is my Hero.

As an adult, making an admission that you admire or respect an individual is all right, to state someone is your hero – well, personally I feel it is a proclamation to be made with some consideration. As I assess the things I admire about this great person, simply put no other words will do.

Bill Russell has won 11 National Basketball Association (NBA) titles during his career as player in the 1950’s and 60’s with the Boston Celtics and as a coach in1970’s. He was not a player who poured on points, but as you can see from the picture above he was extremely adept at stopping other players doing just that. Players who played with and against Bill Russell speak of his tenacity and uncanny ability to anticipate where the ball was going to be. Being in the right time place to send the ball back where it came from. His record as a player has recently earned Russell the honour of the NBA finals ‘Most Valuable Player’ Award being renamed after him.

Basketball as with any sport played at it’s highest level, is about winning. It is absolutely evident that Bill Russell is an embodiment of the victoriousness. But it is not the reason he is my hero.

Bill Russel as a player and a person is uncompromising. To understand this I will paraphrase a story about Bill Russell. In the early 50’s in his sophomore college year, Russell was a leader and prime candidate in many statistical categories by an obvious margin. That year he was passed over for the most valuable player award. A white player, secondary every sense, won the award. In his senior year, Bill Russell accepted that same award, before literally throwing it away. He did this because it meant nothing to him after what had occurred in his second last year of college.

I watched a documentary where his Celtics team mates retold how Bill Russell destroyed NBA teams in southern states, with his shot blocking, court speed and anticipation. He played the game ethically, but his dominance on those occasions most effectively stated his disdain for the segregation and racism that thrived in the south at that time.

Most of all, Bill Russell put himself on the line. Being an active civil rights advocate during his time as a professional ball player was a risk to himself personally. Civil rights contemporaries and leaders like Mohamed Ali, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X paid in varying degrees for their beliefs. Russell had his life and that of his family threatened frequently, his house vandalised numerous times as well as an undertow of public disdain by those disagreed with what Bill Russell rightfully campaigned for.
I believe that in sport and life there is a word always associated with true virtuosity. Intangibility. Bill Russell was not just a superior player and athlete; he played and still lives today with an indomitable spirit. He put his heart into what he wanted to achieved and as well putting himself on the line for his own beliefs.  He defied and defended in the ways that matter most. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celtics off season Update no. 2.

Ok, a lot is happening first lets address the Celtics roster. This is kind of my version of what I think the 2010 - 2011 team should look like combined with who has actually signed , presuming both rooks are signed, those players I believe need to go or who have already signed else where, players previous locked in or are damn close to resigning with the green and white. This is how it should look;

Starting five
  • Rajon Rondo PG
  • Ray Allen SG
  • Paul Peirce SF
  • Kevin Garnett PF
  • Jermane O'Neal C

  • Nate Robinson PG (damn close)
  • Avery Bradley PG / SG
  • Semih Erden C 
  • Glen Davis PF
  • Luke Harangody PF / SF (should be damn close)
  • Tony Gaffney SF
  • Oliver Layfayette PG
  • Brain Scalabrine PF / C
  • Matt Janning SG / SF (he really should be there)
  • Michael Finley SG / SF

  • Kendrick Perkins C

That is 16 roster spots filled out. I have left out by choice Marquis Daniels and Sheldon Williams...well, to be honest they don't fit any more. Both players where hardly used in 09 - 10's magical play off run. Tony Allen has unfortunately left, signing with the Memphis Grizzlies for $9.2 million - something Boston was unwilling to offer TA. Damn shame because he is a great defender and explosive scorer. He will be missed and possibly come back to haunt us. Matt Janning went undrafted but he makes the grade because;

a) The C's need youth and athlticism. Janning has both.
b) You always need a guy with possible SG / SF Potential.
c) He dominated the Bobcats in Orlando in the Celtics only    Summer League victory.
d) He is local. The Boston fans always love a local. And he can potentially play better than Scal.

Speaking of rooks, Harangody really stood out in Orlando, playing an under talented and some times under maned SL roster (playing their last game losing to the Nets, with 7 players?!). Luke show cased a solid 3 pt shot, great rebounding and great intensity and aggression. Plus he has the weirdest shooting style I have seen in a while.

Now, here is something I would love to see. My ideal second unit / youth group / post big three starting 5. Basically the players I hope reap rewards fro the green and white. There are alot of variables; injuries, under performance, trades etc but given the right conditions we could have this;

  • Rajon Rondo PG / SG (captain)
  • Avery Bradley SG / PG
  • Luke Harangody SF
  • Glen Davis PF 
  • Semih Erden C
  • Matt Janning PG / SF (6th man)
OK, they are a tad undersized, but the uniqueness of Davis and Harangody at there positions can have an upside. And again I am trying to peddle my 'two-guard-no-true-guard' idea. But come on, two quick athletic defensive minded guards working together in a starting 5. If it worked it would be awesome.

Green and white for life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Celtics off season Update no. 1.

The off season is a loaded one for almost every team in the NBA. With an outstanding free agent crop it is no surprise that teams taking risks and spending big basket ball dollars to lock up players to solid contracts before next off season's inevitable lockout and potential enterprise bargaining agreements. 

The Celtics have a few things looming in the off season great to ghastly. I will break them down for you with great or ghastly rating accordingly:

  • Great - The next generation: In summer league action New Celtic Luke Harangody has been putting up some nice numbers (23 pts vs OKC, 14pts 12 rbs vs PHI). I have a great feeling about this guy, the C's got a steal and they know it. He owned a lot of teams in college but gets passed by teams on draft day due being an 'unconnvetional NBA body'? Also D-league standout Oliver Layfayette, whom I actually saw play in Boston in his first NBA game (being the last game of the 09 - 10 season), has been logging good minutes at the point. Perhaps Boston may finally have back up true PG for Rondo. Let's hope.
  • Great - Doc is back!: After pondering the family vs team, his kids and wife told Glenn 'Doc' Rivers to go be a coach. This may lead be instrumental to players returning / resigning while Rivers esteemed status as a coach could aid the Celtics attracting decent free agents.
  • Great - 'The Truth' is back!: After opting out of the last year of his contract, Paul Peirce has resigned for a multi- year contract in the mid 60's (millions), well under the max of 96. Again a vital peice, despite his age you can't have a contender next season without this player.
  • Ghastly - Kendick Perkins Knee: The Celtics throw back center is out for a good chunk of time, at least until mid 3 months into the regular season. One of the only possible (and I stress possible) good things to come out of this is that fan's may get to see Semih Erden (inked to contract this week) play at the 5 spot. New prospect Artsiom Parakhouski has played some good minutes at the center in summer league for the C's. Also, don't rule out Rasheed Wallace returning next season. 
  • Great / Ghastly - Ray Allen yet to resign: Ray Allen is still resign with the C's, but from what we hear it is just business of Basketball. Ray would be a valuable asset to any contender (especially the Cav's if they get Bosh). Ray should resign, but how much is being a Celtic worth to Ray-Ray?

More news as I hear it. Green and White for life.