And his sock game is unparalleled. #9
"I was the coach, and everyone says that was the greatest game [Celtics’ Game 5 victory over the Suns in 1976], but I don’t think so. To me, the greatest game ever was when we won our first title, in ‘57, against [the] St. Louis [Hawks]. That was the seventh game, the Finals, and we won by two points [125-123] in two overtimes. I saw the two greatest plays I’ve ever seen in basketball in that game. The first was when Bill Russell ran the length of the floor faster—faster!—than it took for St. Louis to pass the ball the length of the floor and for a guy to take one dribble and a layup. Russell was there to block the shot. The second play was at the end of the game. [Hawk] Alex Hannum threw the ball inbounds off the backboard from half-court. It was a designed play with one second left. He threw the ball off the backboard, straight to Bob Pettit. Pettit, I think, was so amazed the play worked that he missed the shot. If that game had been played today, with television and all the replays, it would be called the best game ever. Now, nobody even knows about it."
Bob Cousy gives an emotional farewell speech to the Boston Garden before playing his final regular season game on March 17, 1963.
Everyone has a favorite Russell story and a favorite Russell memory. A generation of Celtics fans grew up listening to legendary announcer Johnny Most screaming, “Blocked by Russell! Blocked by Russell! He came from nowhere!” And so it’s interesting that people such as Cousy, Auerbach and Tom Heinsohn readily cite just one Russell play as the greatest they ever saw. Simply call it “The Coleman Play.”
The circumstance was the final minute of regulation in what turned out to be a double-overtime Game 7 of the 1957 Finals against St. Louis. As written the following day in the pages of The Boston Globe, it was described as follows: “His best play came when he sped from midcourt to go high in the air and slap back (St. Louis guard Jack) Coleman’s ‘sure thing’ layup which could have given the Hawks a 103-102 margin with 39 seconds left in regulation play.”
Said Cousy: “It was the most incredible physical act I’ve ever seen on a basketball floor. I had just led him down the floor for a basket, and his momentum had actually carried him off the floor. Then I looked up and Coleman already had an outlet pass at midcourt, and he was a good four or five steps ahead of everybody. He was going to score, and they were going to get the lead back with 40 seconds or so left to play. Russell took off with those loping steps and they must have been six or seven of the longest steps ever seen. He covered the entire 94 feet in no time at all and blocked Coleman’s shot. Coleman was no speed demon, but he was very athletic and could move.”
Jeff Green embracing life, hoops after heart surgery.
"You know what’s funny? A lot of these people are interested in the road I’ve traveled, because they admire that," said Green. "But it goes both ways. I want to hear their side. I want to hear from people who went through open-heart surgery or had a heart transplant and understand their story and how they managed to come back from that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a basketball player or not. A survivor is a survivor. We’re all in this together."
"To see what I’ve gone through, I guess it is pretty phenomenal," he said. "I don’t want that to come across the wrong way. I don’t want it to seem like I’m some sort of special case. But when you think about it, I once had a vial in my body that connected to my heart. And when I woke up after surgery, I couldn’t talk, couldn’t move. The only thing I could move was my toes and my head. That’s it. To see me running, jumping, shooting and playing 35 or 40 minutes a game now, I guess that’s pretty amazing, when you think about it."