Bill Plaschke’s column on Bill Russell was a nice tribute.
When pundits talk about Russell’s career as a big winner, they always mention his 11 NBA titles, as they should, but that’s not the whole story. He also led USF to back-to-back NCAA championships on the way to a then-record 60-game winning streak, and led the 1956 U.S. Olympic team to gold, long before the NBA players cannot compete for our country.
Bill Russell is the greatest winner in sports history. Period.
My memories of Bill Russell were shaped by his old radio show on KABC. The best so far. I still quote his daily signature: “Remember that in the great store of life, sport is the department of toys.” That and his unique laugh, which Jim Healy has played so many times.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Bill Russell had an afternoon radio talk show in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. At that time, I only knew him as the central figure of a Celtics team that thwarted the Lakers championships year after year. and broke our hearts, but I soon realized, listening to him day after day before going to work at night, that he was a brilliant thinker and deeply philosophical while he often strayed from sport, especially on political and social issues. He was also unwaveringly honest and sometimes hilarious, and I quickly became a fan and admirer of this rare, genuine human being. And when a caller asked if a certain hot new NBA guard was as good as Jerry West, his instant and emphatic answer was “NO!” And that was it.
“A national leader of 20 kids transferred to USC from other schools” to play football, according to Bill Plaschke. Focusing on USC’s most recent failures, he quotes Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams’ transfer as saying, “…we’re here to turn the tide.” Great! However, speaking to Mr Williams and other football transfers planning to use USC’s generous financial support as an easy ticket to their own fame and fortune, a reminder that the cornerstone of the university is education. Go to class. You’ll enjoy it long after your NFL days are over.
Yes, even in the Sports pages one can find synchronic irony. On Sunday, the D1 page above the fold was dominated by this headline: “HIS LIFE WAS ONLINE – Thomas Cole Quit UCLA Football After Suicide Attempt.” What follows is the story of a young man who felt constant pressure playing a college sport he excelled at, but never felt good enough.
Two inches further on is another headline on Bill Plaschke’s column: “Trojans Loaded Under Heavy Pressure.” As Stan Lee liked to say, “‘Nuff said!”
A few years ago, when the USC basketball program gave Bill Sharman’s “retired” number to a current player, it was not mentioned.
In order for the football program to now “cancel its retirement,” Heisman winner Carson Palmer’s number would have to confirm to all alumni that the “Trojan family” has gone through a divorce with its history and lore.
To hell with tradition! Bring in the hired footballers. Call them “student athletes” and not mercenaries. Forget the team, the school, the pride, the spirit. It’s all about fame and money. But what about the other 95% of USC football players? Where is the equity, the nobility, the honor? Apparently, this has no consequences for USC.
Joseph F.Paggi Jr.
Joey Gallo?? Are you serious?? On the other hand, with Gallo, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger in the lineup at the same time, air conditioning costs will be at a bare minimum inside Dodger Stadium.
Unusually, the Dodgers shielded the future and possibly lost (along with Juan Soto) the 2022 pennant to the Padres.
The Dodgers beating the Giants, good. The Dodgers swept the Giants in a four-game series at Los Angeles-Best. Dodgers sweeping Giants in a four-game series in San Francisco, priceless!!
I’ve been a subscriber to The Times for 50 years. Ben Bolch’s article on Thomas Cole. It was one of the most remarkable and important articles I have read in a long time. Ben’s UCLA coverage is outstanding. They are thorough and informative. The Times is lucky to have Ben.
Congratulations to Dick Vermeil for his induction into the Hall of Fame! Everyone remembers his Super Bowl victory with the Eagles, but few remember him guiding UCLA in their upset against Ohio State in the 1976 Rose Bowl, which deprived the Buckeyes of the national championship. It was probably the biggest win in Bruins history!
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