Bill Russell Quotes

bill russell quotes

 

Because I knew Wilt as I did, I was always seeking to take advantage of his good nature. I did whatever I could to make sure I would never get him angry or fired up. My battle plan with him was always to keep him feeling as comfortable as possible with his own game. If he ever felt pressured or shown up, he would take notice and try that much harder. I was determined to make sure that never happened.

-Bill Russell

This monument is going to be built as a symbol.

-Bill Russell

In the middle of my playing career, I decided to stop signing autographs. In part, my feelings about autographs is based upon my belief that I’d rather meet someone who approaches me respectfully, talk to them for a minute and look them in the eye, rather than participate in the momentary ritual of signing something, never looking at the person I’m signing something for, never getting to know them, and then moving on.

-Bill Russell

To me, the most important part of winning is joy. You can win without joy, but winning that’s joyless is like eating in a four-star restaurant when you’re not hungry. Joy is a current of energy in your body, like chlorophyll or sunlight, that fills you up and makes you naturally want to do your best

-Bill Russell

The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.

-Bill Russell

Retiring was my final victory. Not staying a minute too long, or a season too long, let me leave on my own terms. Knowing when to retire is difficult for any athlete or businessperson. You have to give up so much and start another life. But making that decision and sticking to it is one of the most rewarding decisions you will ever make in your life. I encourage people to look at this moment as starting a new season in a different game.

-Bill Russell

The Celtic ‘system’ was designed to permit intelligent, winning players to endlessly use their own curiosity and creativity to accomplish results.  That was why each of the players felt such an extraordinary commitment to the team. It was a living, everyday thing, a practice far more than a promise, it was their team.

-Bill Russell

Durability is part of what makes a great athlete.

-Bill Russell

I loved making passes in from out of bounds because I could see each of my teammates so distinctly in the rush of bodies moving this way and that. … [B]ecause I had acquired enough technique, I could slow those bodies down in my mind’s eye before I released the ball.

-Bill Russell

Most people have a harder time letting themselves love than finding someone to love them.

-Bill Russell

When a team is functioning on all cylinders, listening is an essential component of success. A team, whether it’s a sports team, a business, or a family, cannot function effectively unless you and everyone else are prepared to drop the filters that get in the way of effective listening.

-Bill Russell

 

 

From the first day I turned up at practice to the last game I played, I quite deliberately cultivated an air of mystery among my teammates. I liked my teammates a great deal, more than I could ever show them then because I believed, as a matter of choice, that, in remaining unseen, who I was or what I did should never be confused. If ever I was taken for granted, as a player or as a person, my effectiveness as a teammate would have been compromised.

-Bill Russell

Red was a mathematician as well as a basketball man, and he drew on that as a coach. … Even in the final minutes of games, the abacus in Red’s mind was clicking away: ‘Okay, we’ve got three minutes, we’re up by ten, that means if we play good defense and don’t throw the ball away, we need three more baskets.

-Bill Russell

Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.

-Bill Russell

On offense, it’s possible to take a break, to stand around a bit, let other players take over. On defense, if you take a break, a good offensive team will burn you. On the other hand, when you and your teammates are all doing the job – and you’re all that good – the great reward is watching the other team slowly suffocate.

-Bill Russell

What’s more important than who’s going to be the first black manager is who’s going to be the first black sports editor of the New York Times.

-Bill Russell

Most guys have a spot they like to start from, and nothing annoys them more than to see you there first, waiting for them. When I played Wilt, he used to get so annoyed when I would get to his spot because it meant he had to move me off his spot to start his game.

-Bill Russell

 

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