Mentored Bill Russell?
great Bill Russell was named the 20th Century's Greatest
Team Player by Sports Illustrated. In 1955, he led the
University of San Francisco to the NCAA title and was
named Most Valuable Player. That same year, he led the
Olympic gold medal team to victory and joined the Boston
Celtics, winning 9 championships in 10 seasons and receiving
5 MVP awards. In 1966, he made history by becoming the
first African American to coach a professional sports
team, and coached the Celtics to win two more championships
until his retirement in 1969.
my home, my parents were the rulers, no doubt about
it. I did what they wanted me to do. They led, I followed.
My mother protected me in this life. She was my shield
and my guardian, she made the dangerous world I grew
up in appear to be safe. She insisted that I keep distant
from those who would harm me physically or verbally;
she kindled my imagination, insisted the library was
the place for me, as well as the church on Sundays (from
eight in the morning till ten at night!). My mother
taught me to stand up for myself, to use my brainpower
on my behalf. She followed me around from day to day
even though she wasn't there. Wherever I went, she accompanied
me even though she was somewhere else.
One day, when I was 12, she became ill and was taken
to the hospital. A week later she died, a complete and
overwhelming shock. But even then, more strongly than
ever, she stayed with me--in my thoughts, my goals,
my aspirations. She appeared to me in dreams. Sometimes
she was just an image; other times she talked to me
as though she were there in the room with me, counseling
me, advising me. "Listen to your father,"
she would say.
"Be aware of how hard he works, how much he cares;
try to do the best at whatever you do, respect all people,
even ones you don't like, acknowledge the common humanity
you share with everyone." She could never have
done this unless she had consciously set out to influence
me in a specific way in her life. Whether she knew it
or not, she intended to make sure her presence, her
teachings, remained with me when she was not around.
Nothing would have worked if I had perceived her as
simply an authority, a lawgiver. She got into my life
and stayed there because she had the power to make herself
invisible so that I might all the while focus on my
own life, on what I had to do to become responsible
for my success.
I have often wondered what it was that gave her the
power of invisibility, and the only meaningful conclusion
I have come to is that it was love. The power of her
love for me was that strong. And in some way, it was
not exceptional in that devoted parents always seem
to have this invisible power that follows after their
children, helping them do for themselves what they most
need to do to be happy and successful.
from Russell Rules by Bill
Russell with David Falkner.