NBA legend Bill Russell has revealed he was the victim of racial abuse over the span of his basketball career, with a lot of it coming from fans of the Boston Celtics.
The 11-time champion outlined the vitriol he was subjected to as a black player in an article for SLAM Magazine.
“During games people yelled hateful, indecent things: ‘Go back to Africa,’ ‘Baboon,’ ‘Coon.’ ‘Ni**er.'”
(H/T Bleacher Report)
Bill Russell has been one of the most outspoken former athletes amid the current climate in the United States and says, while he views the Celtics organization as one “of the good people,” he can’t say the same for the fans or city of Boston.
“As far as I was concerned, I played for the Boston Celtics, the institution, and the Boston Celtics, my teammates,” he added. “I did not play for the city or for the fans.”
It’s pretty sad to see this coming from Bill, a man responsible for most of the success the Celtics and, by extension, the city of Boston has experienced. To their credit, though, the Celtics are the first NBA team to transcend racial barriers, having become the first outfit to draft a black player when they signed Chuck Cooper in 1950.