26 Jul 2015

bill russell, the leader

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Bill Russell, an all-time NBA greats, is one of the great leadership stories in sport. We think of Russell’s many titles with the Celtics as a reflection of his great skill as a defender, passer, rebounder, and scorer, but less is discussed regarding the ways he established a mold for the “Celtic Way.” Russell was a feisty competitor and remained true to his beliefs throughout and after his career. He cared little for accolades and played only for the love of the game, for his family, his teammates, and for victory. His stint as player-coach is also little addressed. From this embedded perspective — running the floor with those whom he coached — his deep understanding of the game and season flows made his decision-making wise and reflective of what his team needed. Few leaders today — in sport and other places — act with such front-line understanding. As leaders move up organizational chains, they can easily lose touch with the real action. Red Auerbach was great, but Bill Russell was the mover!


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