Q&A: Bill Russell

Posted by Unknown on Friday, June 06, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of NBA.com

On the quest to repeat:  

“It might seem strange but I did not know our Celtic teams won eight championships in a row until about 20 years ago when I read about it in a game program. Our focus was always on that particular season, always one year at a time. The year we played had nothing to do with the previous year or the next year. That’s just the way it was.” 

On current players that he would like to play with: 

“I would have liked to have played with the three guys in San Antonio – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – because they put the most pressure on the defense and if you could play at all, it would be easy and fun to play with them. The same thing is true of LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Both guys are really, really good. And when I say good, I’m not limiting it to only scoring, they also excel as defenders and passers.”  

On the pressure of playing in The Finals: 

“In the NBA Finals, there’s pressure and you always see how players react to the pressure. For some guys, it makes them a step slower while for other guys, it makes them a step faster. I like to watch to see how teams react to the pressure because for the really great players, there isn’t any pressure, you just go out and play.” 

On Tim Duncan: 

“I’m a big fan of Tim Duncan. He’s playing at a high level at an age (38) where a lot of people are not playing. He has successfully been able to intelligently change his game to fit his body this year. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s a center, not a forward. Most of his work is done in the post. I wouldn’t list him as a forward or as a guard. I would list him as a great player. Period.” 

On playing an opponent again in The Finals: 

“Now, this is a second year in a row the Heat and Spurs will play each other and with the Celtics, we’ve had some experience playing the Los Angeles Lakers in back-to-back Finals on three separate occasions. The last time being in 1969 when we went to a seventh game against them in Los Angeles. That season we had finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, securing the last playoff spot. We get to the seventh game of The Finals and I said to the guys, ‘The Lakers don’t have a chance tonight.’ And they looked at me like I had lost it.”