Shots in the Darke
The sports world lost one of its all-time great figures with the passing this weekend of the legendary Bill Russell at the age of 88. Most people under the age of 50 know little about the accomplishments of the 6’-9” Boston Celtic center both on the court and in life. Let’s take a look at some of his legacy:
—two-time NCAA champion at the University of San Francisco in the mid-‘50s, the team compiling a record of 55 straight wins.
—gold medal winner at the ‘56 Olympics.
—eleven-time NBA champion as the Celtics won titles in twelve Finals appearances from ‘57 through ‘69.
—five-time NBA MVP, averaging 22.5 rebounds per game for his CAREER! The NBA Finals MVP award is named in his honor
—first black coach of a North American professional sports team as player/coach of the Celts.
—a civil rights pioneer and winner of the Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a US citizen.
—the great Number Six, a true basketball legend!
Here are two trivia questions for you hard-core basketball fans: name the only team to defeat the Celtics in an NBA Finals series during their amazing run from ‘57 through ‘69. Also, who else besides Russell won NCAA, Olympic, and NBA titles during his career? Hint, one of the three players is an Ohio legend. Answers to follow!
It’s hard to believe that August is already here, where did the summer go? Do you ever wonder why January and February seem to last forever whereas June and July just fly by? As mentioned last week fall sports begin practices from the high school level through the pros as the evening air starts to cool down over the next month or two.
The Reds continue to trim payroll with the trading of two-time NL All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo to the Mariners last week, beating the August 2nd trade deadline. The hard-throwing right hander joins former Reds teammates Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker on the Mariner roster as the team pushes for its first playoff appearance since 2001, the longest playoff drought currently in professional sports. The Reds in exchange received four of the Mariners top minor league prospects, the key word being “prospects”!
Random thoughts early on a Monday morning:
What a great weekend in Darke County! The Annie Oakley Festival, the Gathering at the Garst, the Annie Oakley parade, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, the annual GHS Football Boosters golf outing, and beautiful summer weather all in 72 hours of fun in the sun. Congratulations and thanks to the hard-working volunteers who made it all possible!
Also, over the weekend was my high school class reunion. The GHS Class of ‘67 celebrated their 55 year get-together at Montage Friday evening—I don’t understand how the girls keep getting younger and prettier while the guys just are trying to hang in there!! Anyhow it was a great turnout and great time for everyone who attended.
Finally, the St. Louis Hawks, led by the great Bob Pettit, defeated the Celtics in 1958, the Celts only Finals loss in a string of eleven straight years. Also, Middletown’s Jerry Lucas along with IU’s Quinn Buckner and Michigan State’s Magic Johnson joined Russell in winning NCAA, Olympic, and NBA titles. Lucas led the Middies to two state championships in the late ‘50s including a state record 76 straight victories, paced Ohio State to three consecutive NCAA finals winning in 1960, won a gold medal at the ‘60 Olympics, and was a standout on the ‘73 New York Knicks team that took home the laurels.
Remember this—in life you cannot control what happens to you, but you CAN control how your respond!! As Fleetwood Mac sings, “Go Your Own Way”, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”!!