BOSTON — The accolades are endless. His statue tries to encapsulate as many of them as possible, but there are so many more.
Yes, on the court, but off the court is where his legacy has really resonated with all the fans who gathered Sunday to pay tribute.
“I was like hey can we stop by so we can see the statue,” said Indria Thomas who was in town visiting from Texas.
There’s been a lot of conversations about the GOAT recently, but there’s only one who has more rings than Michael Jordan and LeBron James combined.
“As much as everybody goes crazy about the Patriots and all the championships they won, nobody can take the place of the Celtics and 11 championships,” said Danvers resident Sonny Friedstein. “I just want to give a shout-out to the last remaining. Bob Cousy, we love you, keep it going, and we all remember the whole team.”
Sonny Friedstein got to watch Bill Russell live, but the Celtics legend’s impact was so strong even those who weren’t born while he played felt the need to bring flowers to his statue.
“He just meant a lot to the game of basketball and the city of Boston,” said Melrose resident Matt Mancini as he dropped off flowers. “He had kind of a checkered past with the city, so I just felt like I had to do my part and come out here and pay my respects to the legend Bill Russell.”
That checkered past was part of the reason Russell didn’t get a statue until 2013, but then again, Russell didn’t necessarily even want it.
“Statues remind me of tombstones,” Russell said back then.
Now it’s the thing that his fans flocked to in his death.
“It was really what he did off the court,” said Thomas. “Leveling the field so Blacks cannot only play basketball, but also coach, and that was huge.”
Those same fans however want his statue in a better place, fit for a GOAT.
“I think he deserves a statue in the front of the Garden,” said Boston resident Michael Lasky.
“Bill Russell fought for every African-American but that statue, okay, there’s one for Bobby Orr right outside the Garden,” said Friedstein. “In my opinion, that’s where that belongs.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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