Editor’s note, July 31, 2022: Bill Russell, the Hall of Fame center and civil rights activist who won an NBA record 11 titles with the Celtics, died on Sunday at the age of 88, according to a statement from his family. In honor of the legend, The Ringer looks back at the Book of Basketball 2.0’s episode on Russell’s greatness.
What made Bill Russell so great? Was Russell a pioneer, a genius, or both? Why did he mean so much to the 1960s? Why did he walk away after his 11th title and never look back? And why wouldn’t he forgive the city of Boston? In 2012, Bill Simmons flew to Seattle and spent two days with the greatest winner in sports history, hoping to find these answers and more. It ended up being the highlight of his career.