Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book News: Red and Me by Bill Russell

My Coach, My Lifelong Friend

Bill Russell knew his personal power and how to use it. In that sense, he was his father’s son, inspired by the independence, self-confidence and strength he had observed growing up. Russell would say that his father always had “a plan,” meaning he was always a step or two ahead of everyone else. In basketball, Russell demonstrated the same gift and thus reconceptualized the game. Defense had once been an afterthought; Russell saw it as the key to offense and a builder of team morale. Players were told never to leave their feet on defense; with Russell’s advent, jumping to block a shot became an accepted part of the game. Big men were thought to lack mobility; for Russell, finesse and footwork became more important than strength. At his core, Russell knew that he was different from other players — that he was an innovator and that his very identity depended on dominating the game.MORE