Bill Plaschke’s column on Bill Russell was a beautiful tribute.
When pundits discuss Russell’s career as a big winner, they always mention his 11 NBA titles, as they should, but that’s not the whole story. He also led the USF to back-to-back NCAA championships en route to a then-record-breaking 60-game winning streak and led the 1956 US Olympic team to a gold medal long before NBA players could compete for our country.
Bill Russell is the biggest winner in sports history. Period.
My memories of Bill Russell were shaped by his long-ago radio show on KABC. The best to date. I still quote his daily parting line, “Remember, in the department store of life, sport is the toy department.” That and his unique laugh that Jim Healy played so many times.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Bill Russell had a radio talk show that aired afternoons in LA in the early 1970s. At the time, I only knew him as the central figure on a Celtics team that thwarted Lakers championships year after year and broke our hearts, but I soon realized listening to him day in and day out before going into work a night shift , that he was a brilliant thinker and deeply philosophical, though often straying from sport, particularly on political and social issues. He was also unflinchingly honest and at times hilarious, and I soon became a fan and admirer of this rare, authentic human. And when a caller asked if a certain new, hot guard in the NBA was as good as Jerry West, his immediate and emphatic answer was “NO!” And it was.
“The nation’s top 20 kids have transferred to USC from other schools” to play soccer, according to Bill Plaschke. Focusing on USC’s recent gridiron blunders, he quotes Oklahoma transfer quarterback Caleb Williams as saying, “…we’re here to reverse that.” Big! Speaking to Mr. Williams and other football transfers who plan to use USC’s generous financial backing as an easy ticket to their own fame and fortune, it’s reminded that the university’s cornerstone is education. Go to class. You will benefit from it long after your NFL days.
Yes, even on the sports pages you can find synchronous irony. On Sunday, above the fold, page D1 was dominated by this headline: “HIS LIFE WAS ON THE LINE – Thomas Cole Quit UCLA Soccer After Attempting Suicide.” What follows is the story of a young man who felt constant pressure to leave college -Playing a sport he excelled at but never felt good enough.
Two inches away is another headline above Bill Plaschke’s column: “Loaded Trojans Under Heavy Pressure.” As Stan Lee liked to say, “‘Nuff said!”
When the USC basketball program gave Bill Sharman’s “retirement number” to a current player a few years ago, there was no mention of it.
For the football program that now sees Heisman winner Carson Palmer “retire without posting,” the number of all alumni should confirm that the “Trojan family” has undergone a separation from its history and tradition.
Tradition be damned! Bring in the hired soccer players. Call them Student Athletes, not mercenaries. Forget team, school, pride, spirit. It’s about fame and money. But what about the other 95% of USC football players? Where is the equity, the nobility, the honor? Apparently it doesn’t mean anything to USC.
Joseph F. Paggi Jr.
Joey Gallo?? Are you serious?? On the other hand, with Gallo, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger in the lineup, it also keeps Dodger Stadium air conditioning costs to a bare minimum.
Uncharacteristically, the Dodgers protected the future and may have (along with Juan Soto) forfeited the 2022 pennant to the Padres.
The Dodgers beat the Giants, good. The Dodgers sweep the Giants better in a four-game series in Los Angeles. The Dodgers sweep the Giants in a four game series in San Francisco, priceless!!
I’ve been a Times subscriber for 50 years. Ben Bolch’s article on Thomas Cole. It was one of the most outstanding articles and important things I have read in a long time. Ben’s UCLA coverage is outstanding. They are detailed and informative. The Times is lucky to have Ben.
Bravo to Dick Vermeil for induction into the Hall of Fame! Everyone remembers his Super Bowl win with the Eagles, but few remember how he led UCLA to their shocking Ohio State riot in the 1976 Rose Bowl that stripped the Buckeyes of the national championship. It was probably the biggest win in Bruin history!
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https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-08-06/la-times-letters-readers-remember-greatest-winner-bill-russell Letters: Remembering the greatest winner, Bill Russell