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Netflix documentary 'Bill Russell: Legend' is a 'wonderful treasure trove'

No one would ever accuse Bill Russell of being warm and fuzzy. Not his coach, Red Auerbach, nor the teammates he led to an astounding 11 NBA championships during his 13 glorious years with the Boston Celtics. Most certainly not the fickle fans who loved him on the parquet but not so much off, especially when he called out their overt racism towards Blacks in general and himself in particular.

At times, it got ugly, if not frightening. Like the night bigoted thugs broke in and trashed his house in Reading, overturning furniture and smashing his panoply of trophies and memorabilia before viciously painting the N-word on a wall.

He was hardly alone in being targeted. It was, after all, the 1960s, a time of widespread revolution. And Russell was at the heart of a social movement that brought about dramatic change via Congress ending segregation and guaranteeing the right to vote. But he didn’t stop there, taking an even more aggressive stand a decade later during the infamous school busing crisis in Boston. Through it all, whether on the court or in court, Russell was a study in stoic dignity. Nothing fazed him, not even posting up against the 7-foot-1 man-mountain that was Wilt Chamberlain.

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